Hyundai Santa Fe Debuts Fingerprint-Recognition Technology

Sensors on the door handle and ignition allow you to unlock and start the car.

Forget car keys: Hyundai is rolling out technology that will allow drivers to unlock and start their vehicle using their fingerprints. The feature will debut on the new Hyundai Santa Fe that's coming to China in the first quarter of 2019. We don't whether or not to expect the feature on our recently redesigned Santa Fe here in the U.S. But Hyundai confirms it's working on plans to roll out the feature in markets outside China and in other models.

To unlock the Santa Fe, drivers place a finger on the sensor located on the door handle, and a controller inside the vehicle recognizes the encrypted information. To start the ignition, drivers will have to scan their fingerprint once again, this time on the ignition button. Once the car has read a fingerprint, it will automatically adjust the seats, side mirrors, and connected car features to that person's preferences.

"In the future, Hyundai Motor plans to further expand the application of the technology to allow the adjustment of temperature, steering-wheel position, and many other features which will be tailored to driver's preferences" said Albert Biermann, president and head of Research & Development Division for Hyundai Motor Company, in a release.

According to Hyundai, there's only a 1 in 50,000 chance that its technology will recognize another person's fingerprint as the driver's. As Engadget points out, that's the same rate Apple gives for the Touch ID technology it uses on iPhones. The system detects differentials in the electricity level in various parts of the fingertip to protect against forgeries, Hyundai says. The automaker also says the feature is updated constantly through real-time learning so the success rate will improve over time.

While Hyundai is exploring fingerprint technology, Tesla Model 3 drivers can use their smartphone as a key and Byton plans to use facial recognition cameras to adjust driver settings.

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