Hyundais New Car Lets Drivers Use Fingerprints Instead of Keys

Smart keys are so 2018. Starting next year, Hyundai will begin selling cars that drivers can unlock and turn on with the touch of a finger.

The South Korean carmaker unveiled the 2019 Santa Fe SUV at a Chinese auto show Friday, and its new fingerprint technology allows consumers to do much more than open doors.

Hyundai said that multiple owners will be able to register their encrypted fingerprint data on a car and also record certain driving preferences, Engadget reports. The vehicle, which will be limited to the Chinese upon its launch next quarter, will then adjust mirror angles and seat positions based on who opens its door. Eventually, Hyundai hopes that it will be able to automatically customize temperature, steering preferences, and more.

Synaptics, a San Jose-based company known for creating touch technology for the original iPod’s click wheel as well as touch sensors for many current Android phones, recently told AutoWeek that it was eager to begin bringing this technology to cars.

“Fingerprint sensors can also act as navigation devices to control menus on a heads-up display or instrument cluster,” the company told the publication.

Although this is the first car to offer a fingerprint reader that’s built into a door’s handle or ignition button, Engadget notes that the Tesla Model 3 does allow drivers to start their cars with a smartphone enabled fingerprint scan.

Of course this technology could come with risks. New research out of New York University and Michigan State University, for example, found that artificial intelligence can create fake digital fingerprints that are able trick phone fingerprint scanners—the key to everything from app store purchases to bank account information.

Still, Hyundai claims that its fingerprint technology has an error rate of 1 in 50,000, which is identical to Apple’s error rate per finger on its touch technology. Considering that motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 236.9 per 100,000 in 2016, fingerprint technology is a risk that people will probably be willing to take.

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