Facial recognition could make EVs more comfortable or add to data exposure risk
The mostly empty road Tesla has enjoyed in the North American electric vehicle market may be ending even as the company works on new biometric features. Global competitors could beat them at their own advanced-technology game.
Tesla looks inward, springs a leak
Tesla’s camera systems can be a hindrance for the company. Reuters reports that leaked images from Tesla cameras are at the center of a privacy kerfuffle wherein employees accessed and traded, via internal messaging and chats, personal images and videos captured by car cameras.
Reportedly recorded are naked occupants, car crashes and road-rage incidents as well as dogs and “funny road signs that employees made into memes by embellishing them with amusing captions or commentary.”
The news agency reportedly spoke to more than 300 former Tesla employees who said they accessed — for their entertainment — private location data, images recorded after cars had been shut down and views into private properties.
Reporting on the leak, Gizmodo quotes one former employee as saying, “I don’t think (car owners) know that their privacy is, like, not respected. We could see them doing laundry and really intimate things. We could see their kids.”
Continuing its drive to make cars as hands-free, a patent awarded late last year to Tesla for a system that uses cameras to identify individuals and adjust settings to their desire has been spotted. A report in Teslarati cites the company’s patent filing for a personalization system comprised of an interior camera and software that would take multiple images of a rider and customize setting such as seat height, the position of heating or cooling vents and audio.
In the rear view: Zeekr and AUO
More companies are revving their electric engines as global EV adoption rises and governments shape transition policies to address the mainstreaming of features such as facial recognition cameras.
In China, the EV maker Zeekr has a new fully electric SUV, the X, to compete in a luxury vehicle marketplace that has until now largely been cornered by German brands.
According to Reuters, the company plans to deliver 40,000 Xs this year, starting in China, but eventually expanding into western Europe. Representatives say there are no plans to sell Zeekr EVs in the U.S.
Several Chinese automakers are targeting European drivers with affordable, advanced cars. A report from French automotive consultancy Inovev states that by 2030, 20 percent of the EVs sold in Europe will be Chinese.
The X will offer biometric tech and security features such as a facial recognition unlocking mechanism.
Also sporting facial recognition is the new cockpit system from AUO, rolling out this week at the 2023 Touch Taiwan Display International Exhibition. Display Daily reports that, as with Tesla’s personalization patented abilities, AUO’s face scans will adjust to driver preferences and personalize settings. The system also boasts fatigue detection, and a heads-up augmented reality display.