Several of the world’s largest automakers, including Sony, Honda, Ford, Genesis, and Mullen Automotive, have recently made announcements or obtained patents for facial recognition technologies in their vehicles.
Sony and Honda have collaborated on a prototype car called “Afeela,” which utilizes facial recognition to unlock the vehicle and open its doors. The necessary semiconductors and chipsets for this biometric technology will be supplied by electronics giant Qualcomm. Orders for the car will be accepted starting in 2025, with deliveries in the United States expected to commence in 2026.
Izumi Kawanishi, the President of Sony Honda Mobility, mentioned that the automotive industry, traditionally conservative, is embracing products and software from the IT world, signifying its evolution.
Ford is also exploring facial recognition technology and has filed a patent application for “enhanced biometric authorization.” This patent encompasses various aspects, including facial recognition, to control access to the vehicle. It also covers the ability to automatically update a user’s biometric data stored in the system, accounting for changes in appearance such as weight gain or aging.
Similarly, Mullen Automotive, an electric vehicle company based in California, is introducing Persona, an AI vehicle technology that incorporates facial recognition. Among its features, users will be able to lock and unlock vehicles using face biometrics. Mullen also highlights potential commercial applications of this technology, suggesting that delivery drivers could automatically unlock their vehicles as they approach them after completing a delivery.