Hyundai Just Patented a Cool (Or Creepy) Eye-Scanning Car Security System

Car theft may not be as big an issue now as it used to be, but it will always be a problem. The world of car security products is vast, including everything from simple window stickers to expensive car security systems. Hyundai recently filed a patent for a new car security device.

And it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

How will the system work to prevent car theft?

A laser scanning a woman's eye in the dark
Laser scan of an eye | Brands&People via Unsplash

We don’t know precisely how Hyundai’s new iris-authentication security system works yet, but it will likely rely on similar biometric technology used in Genesis models like the G90’s fingerprint reader. This system is one of the wildest car security devices pitched and one of the most advanced for an economy brand.

If this system comes to the market, your car will be able to scan your iris to confirm a match. For best results, your vehicle would adjust cabin lighting or politely ask you to remove glasses or an obstruction. The patent claims that the steering wheel will also automatically move if needed.

There are questions about whether steering wheel locks actually prevent car theft or whether “kill switches” or engine immobilizers are enough to deter thieves. A biometric identification system would add an aggressive new layer to vehicle security. Hyundai’s new system could also be extra security against modern scams like key fob cloning.

Limitations of Hyundai’s new car security system

TheDrive points out some issues with the new iris-scanning car security tool. For one, drivers would need to remove any glasses or facial coverings before they could start their car. 

There’s currently no mention of whether this system would be able to log multiple eyeball details in the same way that cell phones can store multiple fingerprints. If it couldn’t, Hyundai owners would possibly need to disable the system if they ever loaned out their car.

The frustrations and obstacles of a car security system that scans your peepers might be too much for most drivers. But, it may strike a chord with cell phone users who use facial recognition security daily.

What other brands offer anti-theft security for their cars?

Small, circular biometric scanning tool set into a metal pillar
Security scanning tool | Bernard Hermant via Unsplash

Automakers have been working to address digital security for years now. The rise of connected vehicles is making that more important than ever. Currently, automakers are using digital technology to improve physical security, too. 

Hyundai won’t be the first automaker to launch cool car security tech. Dodge’s Security Mode feature isn’t all that helpful, but it offers drivers some peace of mind. Subaru Starlink security features are more reactive than proactive—they don’t so much prevent theft as let you know it already happened.

Ford’s new anti-theft technology pairs in-vehicle cameras with ADT’s security monitoring to provide 24/7 video surveillance of your vehicle. You can install these cameras yourself, so it was popular among drivers who often carry expensive goods.

Generally, you can find more intensive car security accessories in the world of aftermarket parts. They range from basic security cameras to aggressive full-blown car security defense.

How can I improve my car security?

A spraypainted sign, black surveillance camera icon over a white rectangle painted onto a concrete wall
Surveillance camera warning | Tobias Tullius via Unsplash

Keeping your car properly locked and stored is vital for a variety of reasons. Poor car security can lead to more than just a stolen car—it’s also a leading contributor to gun theft. The rise of more innovative technology is leading to smarter car thieves. Thieves can even detect electronics left in your car.

There are a few simple ways to help prevent car theft

  • Don’t make it easy: lock doors, close windows, park somewhere well-lit and populated.
  • Have some kind of visible security device: steering wheel locks, the blinking light of a car alarm, or wheel locks can deter most thieves.
  • Get home or car security cameras: install motion-activated floodlights at your home or apartment, or install a security camera for your car.
  • Consider GPS trackers: this is hit-or-miss because a savvy thief could easily remove a GPS tracker.

Overall, better security for cars is always a step in the right direction. But we’ll wait to see if Hyundai actually does anything with their new patent.

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