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Biometric healthcare monitoring solution designed for automotive use

Connected cars’ massive amount of data seen as personal, national security threat
Biometric healthcare monitoring solution designed for automotive use

A new approach to biometric sensors from Hyundai comes amid growing concern over security for increasingly smart cars. Whether autonomous or simply connected to the interned, vehicles collect huge amounts of data on journeys, locations and, increasingly, the drivers.

Hyundai Mobis to turn cars into mobile healthcare centers

Driver posture, heart rate and even brain waves can all now be monitored to detect drunk or drowsy driving with a new system developed by Hyundai Mobis, the group’s parts-making division announced. More than just another biometric driver monitoring system, it is touted as the world’s first “healthcare-only controller that can integrate and analyze multiple bio-signs” that would “play a role as a moving health examination center.”

The smart cabin controller uses software to analyze data from four sensors: an electrocardiogram sensor in the steering wheel, a 3D camera photographs posture, another sensor collects temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels while the fourth measures brain waves around the driver’s ear.

Warnings based on sensor analysis flash up in the navigation system or head-up displays. The South Korean manufacturer is setting its sights on selling the system to work alongside autonomous driving. For example, a high stress level detected by the electrocardiogram would suggest the driver switch to autonomous control. High CO2 and a window would be opened. Cardiac arrest could trigger the car to drive itself to an emergency room.

Hyundai Mobis is expecting to use its bio-signal database to upgrade the smart cabin to prevent motion sickness, manage stress and even block drunk driving, reports the Aju Daily.

Hyundai recently patented biometric verification of drivers via iris recognition. Automotive biometric sensors are on course to become a US$1.13 billion industry by 2025 and accelerating even faster after that, according to a report by Market Research Future this spring.

Vehicle sensors as a national security threat

Cars have an increasing number of sensors and cameras covering all angles, especially those being developed for autonomous driving. Teslas will not be allowed in the coastal town of Beidaihe for the summer retreat of the Chinese leadership, reports Wired, seemingly because the U.S. marque cannot be fully trusted.

This has happened before despite the company towing the Beijing line by setting up a data center in the country to keep all Chinese data from its 500,000 cars there within the country’s borders.

Chinese vehicle manufacturers are already testing autonomous cars in the U.S. such as Pony.ai (whether or not it identifies as Chinese). Even anonymized data on a fleet of cars would create a detailed picture of life and behavior in the U.S., notes Wired, suggesting this is why Tesla has been restricted in parts of China.

Modern vehicles around 70 to 100 microprocessor-based electronic control units running around 100 million lines of code, reports IEEE’s Spectrum. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner runs 6.5 million lines.

Tesla vehicles have already proven vulnerable to hacks, to the extent that they could be partially controlled.

California, for example, brought in regulations for cybersecurity for autonomous vehicles in 2018, but these do not cover the broader category of connected cars such as Teslas, argues API development platform Postman’s Kin Lane writing in Venture Beat: “The current dearth of security and privacy regulations and standards is a Wild West that won’t cut it for the long haul. That’s why I think lawmakers at the federal and state levels will soon become more aggressive in considering legislation to harden these systems against intrusions.”

When smart cities become better established, the sheer quantities of data generated on the cities, transport and even drivers will present a range of risks according to sources speaking to Wired, even to the extent that a hacked car could be weaponized.

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