You could use your face to unlock, start, and even pay for things in your car with Continental’s new facial recognition technology

 Forget Keys, Your Face Could Unlock And Start Your Next Car

Facial recognition technology is the hot new feature in tech, and many of you reading this on a phone already use it to unlock your screen (admittedly, with varying degrees of success). Continental now plans to utilize the same technology to unlock and start your car.

The company proposes that the technology could be installed both inside and outside of the vehicle. In addition to starting a vehicle, facial recognition in the infotainment system could also be used to make digital payments simpler at, say, an EV charger.

More than just a fancy camera, Continental says that its facial recognition tech is being combined with another innovation that it first showed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last year, hidden cameras.

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Read: New Mercedes Assistant Will Speak To You Like A Friend And Match Your Mood

 Forget Keys, Your Face Could Unlock And Start Your Next Car

The German multinational automotive parts manufacturer has developed a camera that can be installed behind an infotainment screen, and see through it. That means that vehicle designer don’t have to change their interiors to use this technology, and the camera is integrated into what the driver is looking at anyway.

“For us, user experience is defined not only by functional and technical aspects, but also by aesthetic appeal,” said Dr. Boris Mergell, the head of UX at Continental Automotive. “Sophisticated convenience and safety functions – which are not visually noticeable when in use – are a complete success for us in this respect.”

Continental’s cameras could also be seamlessly integrated into a vehicle’s B-pillar to unlock a vehicle. To ensure that the recognition is secure, the camera checks for facial features, in addition to making sure that it’s looking at real skin, so that you can’t unlock an EV with a picture of the owner.

 Forget Keys, Your Face Could Unlock And Start Your Next Car

You may be wondering why you would want to give up more of your data to automakers, advertisers, and anyone else who cares to pay for it for a fancy face key, but Continental says the technology could allow for some nifty features that keys don’t offer. You could, for instance, set your car to start as soon as you approach it. You could also give over your children’s data, and allow them to unlock a vehicle with their face, but not start it.

In addition to the facial recognition tech, Continental says it has been working on screens that integrate seamlessly into a vehicle’s B-pillar. Almost invisible when off, they would illuminate when the owner nears to communicate things like state of charge, whether the doors are locked, and more.

“Transferring our technologies from the interior to the exterior is a logical next step if this allows us to incorporate additional safety aspects and convenience functions,” said Mergell. “By extending our UX portfolio to the exterior, vehicle manufacturers and end users will benefit in equal measure from intuitive new interaction options.”

What are your thoughts on the use of this technology? Tell us in the comments below.