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Brief Published: 25 Nov 2016

Jaguar Land Rover Patents Facial-Recognition Lock System

Motorists of the future will be able to unlock their vehicles without keys or physical touch

The smart car of the future will be able to identify users by nothing more than their face and trademark swagger, thanks to Jaguar Land Rover’s newly patented lock system. Details revealed in a recently published patent describe technology that uses facial recognition and gait analysis to detect owners as they approach their vehicles from afar.

Stereoscopic cameras mounted on the doors will stream 3D video, while a still image will also be taken as the user stands next to the car. Facial recognition software will then compare the photo and the video footage (tracking the user’s gait or distinct hand gestures) to images stored on the car’s computer, allowing motorists to unlock their vehicles without keys or physical touch.

The combination of video, still image and gait/gesture recognition ensures thieves will not be able fool the system by holding up pictures of the owner’s face. It will also check whether the user is blinking to confirm that it’s seeing a real face rather than a photograph.

The patent also hints at handleless doors, the ability to recognise several users and “a still more sophisticated embodiment [that] may use discrimination between different gestures to unlock different doors of the vehicles”.  It is currently unclear when the technology might become available.

For more on the car of the future, see CES 2016: Automotive