Intel and Ford Developing Face Recognition Software

Ford is teaming up with Intel for a joint research project that they’re calling “Project Mobil”. The goal is to find a way to introduce facial recognition software to cars by developing a software that works with inward-facing cameras in order to improve the privacy and security of car owners.

The basic idea is that a front-facing camera can be set up so as to authenticate drivers—if the system doesn’t recognise a person’s face when they sit in the driving seat, the software will send a photo to the smartphone of the vehicle’s owner, who could then grant or deny permission to this hopeful driver. Let’s hope the owner’s smartphone is on them and not on silent in an emergency situation! Also, for recognised faces, the software could automatically adjust to custom settings. This will be really useful for families where there are many potential drivers with different preferences when it comes to seat and mirror adjustment or radio station.

Car owners will also be able to have a greater degree of authority over the way that their car is driven. Ford even hope to let owners remotely peek into their cars and monitor the person behind the wheel while they drive. What’s more, car owners can set parameters, such as audio volume limits, limits on vehicle speed and seatbelt requirements. This could end up being clunky and irritating in some situations, and perhaps even potentially dangerous. Sometimes divers need to go fast in order to avoid danger, and sometimes people won’t have time to be recognised by the cameras or to put on their belt. However, it is hopefully nothing that couldn’t be adjusted to and there’s probably a good argument that the capacity to restrict the way others (or we ourselves) use our car—with the intention of increasing safety—could save lives. It will certainly reduce the anxiety of parents who aren’t confident in their children remaining sensible behind the wheel.

Another exciting feature afforded by these cameras will be gesture recognition, which, like the voice recognition that has already been implemented into some car dashboards, could be used to adjust the car’s temperature, open and close windows and various other commands.

This is only a research project, though, so don’t expect to see cars with this software (or for them to see you) in the next year.

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