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Ford’s biometric sentry for people, critters inside and outside car is awarded patent

Ford’s biometric sentry for people, critters inside and outside car is awarded patent

Biometrics could be deepening the affection some people (surely, mostly men) feel for their vehicles.

Ford Global Technologies, in Dearborn, Michigan, has been awarded a patent for facial recognition systems built into vehicles that would recognize their drivers and unlock the doors on sight. The publication number is US 2022/0041134 A1.

The basic technology is relatively simple by the standards of face biometrics and surveillance, and it is a logical follow-on to facial recognition systems being installed and planned for vehicles, according to trade publisher Ford Authority.

But the patent not only describes a suite of new functions made possible with face biometrics, it also describes a way to lower the power toll such systems can have on vehicle batteries, according to Ford Global, a research and development unit within Ford.

Inventors Ali Hassani and Ryan Edwin Hanson, both from Michigan, see the system being able to start a vehicle and maintain a “secure idle” once it recognizes one of multiple saved faces approaching day or night.

It would also be able to monitor some health conditions, including body temperature, of human and pet occupants. The car could be started to keep temperatures safe for pets left behind, too.

Animals outside the vehicle could be monitored as well. Infrared cameras could peer through bushes to identify various examples of wildlife and analyze threat levels by the critter’s gait and perceived stress.

Always-on biometric systems doing this kind of computing could easily drain even a brawny truck, so Hassani and Hanson designed a two-tier backend.

A lower-power, lower-resolution and lower-lighted classification subsystem operates continuously, looking at the surroundings like a person who wears glasses perceives the world until they put their glasses on.

Pixels would be verified and the locations of nearby would be plotted using ID techniques such as support vector machine.

Once a threshold signal is reached, the so-called biometric key power mode feature would start. A secondary classification algorithm, with secure biometric identification and “a potential liveness verification” would take over.

That secondary, full-featured subsystem could open a door, start the engine or … perform “payments authentication.” No description is offered for that last function.

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