Can mobility turn to biometrics for a contact-free experience?

Systems that measure elements of the human body can streamline the process of identification and personalisation. By Freddie Holmes

Biometric authentication, or biometrics, has been used for years as a form of access control and identity verification in various industries. Fingerprint, face or iris recognition systems are the most common means, and are typically more reliable and secure than alphanumeric passwords or secret answers.

Special report: Could biometrics be the key to the future of mobility?

Biometrics systems require users to simply hold a finger on a scanner or stand in front of a camera for a few seconds. In theory, it is far more convenient for the user. However, such technology can cause frustration if poorly designed. Automated customs desks at an airport are a good example, with some travellers waiting minutes for the system to verify their identity. Occasionally, a human steward will need to step in and perform a manual check.

Biometric identification dates back to ancient Mesopotamian times where fingerprints would be pressed into clay and used to sign contracts. Fingerprint data also has a long history in the criminal justice system, and is typically one of the preferred means of identification. Biometrics systems may prove a valuable addition to the human-machine interface (HMI) in next generation vehicles, but manufacturers must prioritise the user experience if adoption is to be successful.

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