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Continental puts face and fingerprint recognition in cars at CES 2017

Automotive equipment maker Continental will show that keys are a thing of the past with its new biometric technologies for cars.

Continental biometrics
This rendering shows how Continental's biometric technologies could be used in a car for facial and fingerprint recognition.

Smartphones and computers have included fingerprint identification sensors for many years, and now automotive equipment maker Continental wants to bring this technology into cars. The company says it will demonstrate both fingerprint and facial recognition for the automotive sector at CES 2017.

Using Continental's biometric technology, a car could load a driver's personal preferences, from seating and mirror positioning to favorite destinations.

Authentication through fingerprint recognition has made its way into personal electronics and even household door locks, but is not yet available in cars. The automotive industry, so far, has relied on radio frequency signals from key fobs for car access and vehicle start security.

Rather than do away with key fobs, Continental suggests in a press release that automakers might want to use its fingerprint technology to create another layer of security. A driver would need to have her fingerprint registered with the car and have the key fob present to start the engine. That scenario, however, does not take into account valet service or the quick loan of a car to a friend.

For facial recognition, an internal camera scans the driver to match her face with a known profile. Continental suggests that facial recognition would work well for personalizing the car's electronics.

Continental will demonstrate how these technologies work at CES in Las Vegas in January.