Singapore, 2 Nov 1999 – The IAA ’99 international auto show in Frankfurt saw Siemens’ Automotive Systems Group present a whole series of new applications for fingertip sensors designed to enhance safety and convenience.
In future, the driver will be able to identify himself to his car by means of a fingerprint check (see picture). Once the data has been stored, the position of the seat, steering wheel, interior and exterior mirrors will be readjusted automatically to suit the particular driver.
A similar principle of automatic transmission is also feasible, with intelligent systems gradually gleaning information on the behaviour of individual drivers. Immediately the fingertip recognition system releases the car for driving, the automatic transmission adjusts itself accordingly, at the same time taking account of weather and road conditions, and the terrain.
These functions will reach the series production stage within the next two years. Further applications for fingertip recognition are already being planned include access control from outside and the deactivation of immobilizers.
Fingertip technology, like face recognition, comes under the heading of biometry – the science that deals with the identification of humans based on their unique individual physical characteristics. The subject’s fingerprint is read via a sensor, and then compared with a stored reference print. When creating the reference print, certain highly characteristic branches in the structure of the skin of the fingertip, known as minutiae, are scanned and stored. If, when actuated, the system subsequently recognizes these unique characteristics, it will release the application concerned.
The fingertip sensor replaces passwords and PIN codes. Possible applications include such products as mobile phones, PCs, cheque guarantee cards or access control systems for buildings.