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Transportation AI

Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car 131

cartechboy writes What if you got into your car and you had to authenticate that it was you behind the wheel? That might be what's coming in the near future as Ford's working with Intel to bring facial recognition to the car. The idea would be to improve safety and in-car tech with this system which is being called Project Mobil. When someone enters a Project Mobil-equipped car the system uses front-facing cameras to authenticate the driver. If the driver can't be authenticated it'll send a photo to the vehicle owner's phone asking for permission for this person to drive the vehicle. Once identified, the car can then automatically adjust certain settings to the driver's preference. This could also theoretically allow parents to control how loud their kids listen to the music while driving, how fast they can drive, and even simply monitor them driving. Obviously this NSA-like surveillance tech is a bit creepy on some levels, but there could be a lot of terrific applications for it. While only an experiment, don't be surprised if your dashboard stares back at you eventually.
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Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

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  • by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @09:29AM (#47344249)
    Now big momma is watchin you!
    • Only your watching momma is big.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just another way to monitor us every goddamn motherfucking minute of every goddamn motherfucking day of our goddamn motherfucking lives, like we're all little children, or criminals in prison, or animals in a zoo. What's even MORE FUN that that is that we get to pay for this stupid shit! It's a 'solution in search of a problem' and desperately needs to have a giant Gallagher mallet applied liberally to it, along with the fucking morons who thought of this, the NSA, and every goddamn motherfucking gor-suckin
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I drop off my car to get serviced and I'll be presented with a picture of the guy driving it into and out of the service bay. Maybe even a test drive.

    I park my car and I'm presented with the valet driver. Of course, I hope it's only presented two times -- once when he parks my car and again when he brings my car around. No "ferris bueller" stunts allowed.

    Someone stealing my car? Yes, let me disable the ignition for that.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In Ferris Bueller, the valet took the car for a ride immediately. It's not like he parked it, then went back and started it again. So this "feature" wouldn't have helped, unless it told you how long he drove it for.

    • There is already technology available in some high-end models that will monitor the driver and take steps to warn them if they appear to be losing concentration. That technology is surely going to save lives sooner or later, given the amount of road accidents caused by tiredness or falling asleep at the wheel.

      I'm as concerned about creepy surveillance and illusory security as much as the next geek, but image recognition technology does have positive applications as well.

    • what about Valet in a poor cell area / underground / inside parking lot?

    • Also, if you get car jacked the guy insists on stealing your phone so he won't have the new ride disabled on him...
  • 1. Take picture of driver
    2. Print mask
    3. Wear mask

    Not really any upgrade from a Key if i'am honest.

    • Is ti really that hard to just use bluetooth prox and pairing. Not that is better than a key but it's just one less thing you need to keep with you. Seems just as secure as the keyfob. Sure nfc and all that but BT is nearly ubiquitous today.

      • Is ti really that hard to just use bluetooth prox and pairing.

        Yes it is. That requires owning a bluetooth enabled phone or other device, having it with you, and having it on. Operating my car should not require my phone as well.
        • As apposed to a keyfob like you get today?

          • My key doesn't need to be charged.

            My wife's car, a Mazda, with the entirely keyless system ... is ABSOLUTELY FUCKING HORRIBLE. It fails to work almost as often as it works

    • 1. Take picture of driver
      2. Print mask
      3. Wear mask

      As someone who has worked in computer vision, this is trivial to detect. You can either use two offset cameras, or take two photos with a single camera with a second or so delay if the target is moving even slightly. Then use the two photos to create a 3D stereoscopic image. If you want more security, you could detect small changes in facial expression, or look for blinks. Most cars already have weight sensors in the front seats, to better deploy airbags based on the size of the driver/passenger, so th

    • Never mind security, what about reliability? If I go hiking in the mountains where there is no cell phone coverage and e.g. scratch my face on a tree branch I do not want to get back to the car only to have it fail to recognize me and refuse to start. Frankly I also wonder about whether Ford are thinking clearly about this given the claim in the article that "Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] already believes the technology can help improve privacy..". How can adding a camera to a car improve privacy? No matter w
      • I do not want to get back to the car only to have it fail to recognize me and refuse to start.

        Except that is not how it works. If it fails to recognize you, it will send your picture to your cellphone and ask you if it is okay for the unrecognized person to use your car. So a scratch on your face is not going to brick your car. A feature like this will almost certainly be user configurable. The options will likely include:
        1. Disable facial recognition completely
        2. Send a photo of an unrecognized user to a registered cellphone for approval
        3. Allow an unrecognized user to use the keypad as a fa

        • If I had any friends at all, I wouldn't be getting so many black eyes.
        • by gtall ( 79522 )

          No, it won't. It will send a picture to your insurance company and ask the company if the person behind the wheel should be driving the car. It will start out as you suggested, but the first insurance company to wise up will make Ford a business proposal. We'll get treated to the usual suits saying the usual things about "the future" and what-not. And the result will be we get screwed...yet again.

        • If it fails to recognize you, it will send your picture to your cellphone and ask you if it is okay for the unrecognized person to use your car.

          Which is why I specifically used the example of hiking in the mountains where there is no cell phone service.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      There is modern camera tech that is being used to monitor monitor people's heart-beats. It's more of a software upgrade than a hardware one. It is possible for these cameras to require seeing a heart-beat in the skin. I recommend watching the entire video. []
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Man alive, I'm getting sick and tired of all the crap hipster technology we're being subjected to. There was once a time when new technology made us better off. It provided us with tools that let us do more with less. But new technologies these days are all about subjecting us to yet more advertising (even if it's called "online videos" or "social media"), or they're invasive, privacy-destroying devices of one sort or another. Silicon Valley used to be a place where real innovation happened, thanks to the h

    • Yea, the more I read about new stuff in new cars, the more I love my 1982 car without computers in it.

      • The more I drive my 1982 car without computers in it, the more I wish it had one along with a lockup TC

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm not an input.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I just realised that references to orwellian tech are scarcer and replaced by "NSA-like".
    Seems like we've crossed some kind of milestoneÃ!

  • So this will stop the police from commadeering your car for an emergancy as they run down the bad guys in the movies. New plot device.

    Cop yanks citizen out of car throwing them to the pavement and says, "I'm taking your car for police business!"

    Car says, "Fuck off Fuzz Face!" and turns itself off or maybe wraps the cop up in a strangle hold with the seat belt.

    AI gone Sane!

  • Think of it this way: this will be a trivially cheap device to install in a car, and it will be pretty much invisible in how it functions, until someone tries to steal your car. It will probably be bundled with other functions that count your blinks and warn you when you're too drowsy to drive safely. This is the kind of device that will pay for itself many times over in insurance savings. Also, if it records your car data in some hard-coded way, that data could be very useful in fighting wrongful traffic t
    • If I were sure that I were in control of the data on my car, then that would be fine. If I roll-my-own and it's cryptographically sound and takes 2FA then okay, all is well. If it's got all the personal security of On* then fuckit, fuckit twice, and fuckit thrice.

      I would love it if the cars had the cameras and the display with touch preinstalled, and they came out to USB cables in a special little compartment where you install whatever you want, whether that's a dedicated machine designed for the purpose, a

  • In 2001... (Score:5, Funny)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @10:08AM (#47344361)
    "Open the hatchback door, Ford."

    "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
  • WTF over?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charcharodon ( 611187 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @10:23AM (#47344421)
    what the hell is wrong with a key? If that key is just too heavy for you to carry how about a key pad to unlock everything?

    I don't need the fucking car to update facebook, check to see if I shaved, adjust all the settings, make sure I'm not drunk, or ask the real owner whether or not I can drive it, and then not work if there isn't a WiFi or cell signal present. (I'm sorry but you do not have permission to operate this vehicle as zombies are trying to break in.).

    I want my car to be a car, I don't need an ever bigger fucking cell phone to complicate up my life, and not to mention charge me yet another monthly service fee, along with spying on me to send the info to the gov't and marketers.

    Eat a bag of dicks Ford.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Keys can be stolen... sometimes without the person even being aware of it until the car has been taken.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      GM came out with On-Star... That is expressly why I bought a KIA.

      Me: "Does it call for help when I have an accident like Fords do with On-Star?"
      Salesman: "uhh. No."
      Me: "Good. I'll take it. I hate that spying crap."

      I feel like I should be making a comment here about how the more they tighten their spying grip, the more star systems will slip through their fingers...

    • Re:WTF over?! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bite The Pillow ( 3087109 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @12:15PM (#47344979)

      Your opposition has been noted. Meanwhile, development continues as if you said nothing.

      That's because you are not representative of the market.

      Do you stop by a dealership every 6 months and explain that you would buy if it weren't a computer? Or do you not even consider Ford products? After considering, you may realize that you really aren't the market at all.

      So, how do you buy a modern car not a computer after that's the only option? Because I'm not the market, and I would love to disrupt this. By buying what I want, instead of typing angrily where Ford is unlikely to see it.

      • I bought a new Ford in 2006. It is the simplest version of a stripped Ford Ranger. The most 'high tech' feature it has is it's only option upgrade: a CD player in the radio. When I was looking at it in the sales lot the salesman told me 'this is the last of it's kind.' It uses only a simple key to unlock the door and start. I can go to a hardware store and get a key cut from a blank for about $1.50.

        And it's the simplest version of a stripped Ford Ranger. Nobody has ever wanted to steal it. It's also

      • You are right I am not the market they are catering to, but I did buy what I wanted. It took contacting 4 dealers before I could get my 4x4, as all of them wanted me to buy what was off the lot rather than order it.

        I picked up a 2011 FJ Cruiser base package, manual transmission, a full set of dealers repair manuals, and a lap top adapter along with a copy of Techstream.

        It does what I want it to do, when I want it to do it, and how I want it to do it. (Thanks Techstream) If I am going to make the pa

    • Eat a bag of dicks Ford.

      Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car?

  • Keys seem to be fine to "authenticate" to my car. If more security were really desired (and I can't imagine why), pins and fingerprints would work too.

    Face recognition is a lousy authentication technique.

  • In new cars which are going to come with some sort of standardized infotainment system and which (unlike mine) are all going to have fully-digital clusters soon if not immediately, it will cost basically nothing to add that functionality to the cluster for at least the driver. You can literally use usb webcams with android today, although I don't know how well having multiple cameras actually works ("Since API level 9, the camera framework supports multiple cameras [].") It therefore seems like something which

  • A car that snitches kids to their parents, the owner to the cops if he seems 'tired' seems just what we need.

  • I see the the following problems --

    For at least 20 years, I have had a full beard. Since I am mostly (not entirely) bald on top, I do not get a haircut more than once in two months. When I get a haircut, I also get my beard trimmed somewhat short. Will facial recognition allow me to drive home from the barber shop?

    I do not have a mobile phone, smart or dumb. When I leave my house, I want to leave my phone, computer, garden, etc behind me. Where would this feature send the photo?

    • If you do not have a smart phone (aka tracking device) then I am afraid that you will have given up your right to drive a car. It is all being done to make you more free and secure, you understand.

  • "Obviously this NSA-like surveillance tech is a bit creepy on some levels" you must be one of them there conspiracy nuts. NSA is not undertaking any surveillance apart from of terrorists. You government loves you, please go back to sleep.

  • by RotateLeftByte ( 797477 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:10AM (#47344625)

    Sales of Chewing Gum and Duct Tape to owners of new Fords rise by 10000%

    Being serious for a moment, is there really any demand from the public for this?
    Is his being driven by the lawmakers who are frankly desparate to stop Drunks from getting behind the wheel?

    Will the car refuse to start if the camera is obscured and the driver can't be identified?
    As the Car not the driver seems to be the boss then who owns the pictures?
    Who says that the pictures won't be sent to the NSA? Can you be sure.

    This is not something I'd want in any car I drove.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      Will the car refuse to start if the camera is obscured and the driver can't be identified?

      Probably... but only if the owner cannot be reached by phone/text message.

      Although I realize it's not difficult to imagine scenarios where this would actually cause problems... perhaps the developers of this tech are anticipating that the number of actual complaints which arise as a result of actual experienced difficulty will be small enough that they can still afford to lose those customers' business.

    • Is this being driven by the lawmakers who are frankly desperate to crush all remaining vestiges of individual freedom?


    • Being serious for a moment, is there really any demand from the public for this?

      This is Big Brother. They will try to sell it to you in a thousand different ways, safety, security, convenience... but make no mistake, the government will be able to record, monitor, and control at any time that they choose.

  • by vovin ( 12759 )

    What a major pain when you valet your car. Ewww.

    • What a major pain when you valet your car. Ewww.

      Actually, I didn't even think about how awesome it would be for that. For cars which are actually valet parked often, they could have a dedicated valet button. Everyone else would access it through the infotainment system. When you activated valet mode, it would still permit use of the car, but only up to parking lot speeds. It could also take some snapshots of the driver any time the car was being driven any way other than extremely casually, where laws permit. The limited speed and the fact that one might

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:15AM (#47344639) Journal
    You: Google Car - Start please!
    Car: Access denied, user not recognized.
    You: (tries to get closer to the camera). Google CAR! START PLEASE!
    Car: Access denied, user not recognized.
    You: #%!" *ss car, GOOGLE CAR - START PLEASE!!!
    Car: Voice unreadable, can't understand the word *ss car.
    You: (getting mad, swearing excessively). GOOGLE CAR - START THE F******* CAR RIGHT NOW! (stares into the camera like a mad man).
    Car: User Too Ugly Error 404

    (now, imagine what happened to the car)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps there is/are (a) Kabuki mask that opens a back door and/or Easter egg. Got to be some kind of bypass for the mechanics etc, else someone isn't going to be too thrilled when their employee has to pause their work again and give permission for the xx time to some mechanic to start their car. Then there is heirs, new owners, repo people,,,

    • (now, imagine what happened to the car)

      Nothing, because after the 404 the Google Car complied to the mandatory "Arrest Vehicular Criminals Upon Apprehension By Automated Rovers" law and wrapped you up in the seat as a nice present for the cop around the corner. As long as it isn't the same cop who tried using another Google Car to pursue a criminal...

  • Now my insurance company will want access to that data to verify that I'm not loaning my car to anyone.

  • What's a criminal to do? Gone will be the good old days where a man could feed his family by ripping off one car a week. And our prison system will have to lay off workers and buy less products to feed those that live off of the supposed criminal, justice system. And not only have companies like GM failed to provide strong locks for cars they have ignition switches that kill the owners of such cars. I don't want to get too real here and put folks into shock but compare the morals of c
  • Law enforcement .... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @12:48PM (#47345119)

    ... needs evidence of who was driving a car when it is caught in an infraction by automated systems. In some jurisdictions, not having clear evidence of the identity of a driver is sufficient to have the case thrown out. This is how they will get their evidence.

    If the car won't start without positive facial recognition, that rules out the duct tape over the lens fix.

  • Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

    I really hate all this "your" crap in headlines. It won't be coming to my car, because I already have a car and don't need a new one, and when I do get one it probably isn't going to have all this fancy-schmancy crap got-to-be-connected crap in it. It's not so much because I'm a privacy nerd, I'm just cheap.

  • by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @02:41PM (#47345693)
    I think it sounds kind of cool. I really don't have any issues at all with facial recognition as long as it's done in a responsible manner. The data should be volatile and discarded when it's no longer needed. If the car is simply comparing the person behind the wheel to a small set of people it knows and then discarding the data, that seems like excellent tech to me.

    even the idea that it might send my picture to the owner of the car doesn't bother me too much. i am after all in someone else's car. Again, it only doesn't bother me if I know that the picture isn't stored, and once it leaves the closed system of the car... Well, i don't have any real assurance that it isn't going to get stored somehow. So it's a little stickier there. Still, if it's just going to the owner and not staying on a server after delivery it sounds ok.

    Now, if the car keeps a record of every person who's ever been in it and shares that with the automakers, that's creepy. it's double plus creepy if it also sends it along to the government.
    • The main problem is that you'll likely never be able to find out what the car is doing, so you can't trust it.

    • by kuzb ( 724081 )

      > I really don't have any issues at all with facial recognition as long as it's done in a responsible manner.

      That's really the problem. It's been proven time and again that companies like this can't be trusted at all.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @02:51PM (#47345743) Journal

    The last thing I need, if I'm injured in a way that disfigures my face, is a car that won't let me start it to drive to the emergency room.

    That's right up there with the federal experiment, back in the '60s or so, with mandating seatbelt and seat weight sensors that interlocked with the starter, so you can't start it if all the passengers aren't belted in.

    (I, and about five of my friends, were very luck my car dated from before that mandate, the time we were visiting a friend who worked in a trainyard, my car stalled across a track, a train came {slowly but inexorably} around the sharp curve, and my right-front passenger unbelted in preparation to bail if I couldn't get it going again. We didn't have enough time to all bail ...)

  • Bypass the ignition if necessary. It's my car, not the state's.

  • ...with a piece of paper? Unless there are secondary and tertiary sensors to verify the person in the vehicle belongs to the "authorized face", then this "security measure" is more "security theater". To add to this posted thought, I have to wonder if there are more nefarious plans for this technology(either desensitization to having cameras watching each individuals every moment of their lives), or if this is some uneducated idea from someone/multiple people in the Ford marketing department, who believe t

  • This is a good thing as long as it can recognize shitfaced drivers and keep them of the roads.

    • It's not going to keep them off the roads. It's going to notify the local law enforcement, so they can pick up the driver for a DUI.

      After all, preventing someone from driving doesn't have the revenue^H^H^H^H^H^H^H deterrence effects of thousands of dollars of fines.

  • Welcome back Ambassador Spock..

  • ...when they want to steal my car. Or just kidnap me and take me with them.

    Really fantastic idea.

    I wish they would just focus their technological efforts on hurrying up and getting me an inexpensive car that can drive itself. Then it won't run into things, no matter who is driving it.

  • by kuzb ( 724081 )'s a Ford, people who buy garbage like that just don't care.

  • Tell you what, Mother Government. YOU buy MY car for me and let me use it for free or near-free. When my phone is dead or I don't have it, just call up the cops and have the 'offender' shot on sight.

  • Automakers have been researching facial recognition and eye tracking systems for years, mostly because they can be used to reduce distracted driving. An audible warning whenever drivers take their eyes off the road for more than a few seconds, followed by a steering wheel shudder, taking off the throttle, etc. These systems can also detect drivers who are drunk/under the influence by measuring reaction times (assuming the system is mounted in a vehicle with some sort of collision avoidance radar, which is a

  • already believes the technology can help improve privacy and give parents a way to monitor their kids as they drive.

    Improving privacy and increased monitoring do not go well in the same sentence.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson