Genesis is continuing to roll out information about its new GV60 electric crossover, and the latest tidbit, announced Thursday, is an industry first. The GV60 will be available with what Genesis calls Face Connect, a biometric face-scanning system that lets you unlock and enter the car without a key.
I've seen the Face Connect system in action in real life, and it's pretty damn slick. It uses a Near Infra-Red camera located on the B-pillar, which Genesis says is able to detect faces at night and in stormy weather, and even with sunglasses and a hat on (though it doesn't work with aon). The camera is activated when you tap your fingers on the driver's door handle, and it takes just a second or two for the camera to read your face. Once it's scanned your face, the ring around the camera turns green and the car is unlocked. The system can also be used to lock the car, even if the physical key is inside.
Up to two faces can be registered at a time, and Genesis says the data is encrypted and "safely stored" in the vehicle, plus it can be easily deleted at any time. Setting up a new face is much easier and quicker than setting up Face ID on an iPhone -- no need to rotate your head around and show different angles -- with the process taking just a few seconds. The Face Connect system is tied to the car's driver profiles, so once it's scanned your face the car can adjust the seats, steering wheel, mirrors and infotainment and audio settings accordingly.
Once you're in the car, a fingerprint scanner on the center console allows you to start the car without having the key present, giving the GV60 two-factor authentication. Thealready has fingerprint ID tech, though it can't be used to start the car. The GV60's fingerprint scanner is also used for in-car payments and disabling valet mode, further increasing security.
This whole thing might seem gimmicky, and it is. But it's exactly the kind of gimmick that I'm into. I hate having to carry around car keys, especially in modern cars with keyless entry and push-button start anyway. And this new system is even simpler than phone-as-key setups in other cars -- no need to carry around a charged phone. Genesis pitches it as being good for people with those all-important "active lifestyles," kind of like, though again, the Genesis requires nothing physical.
Genesis also announced that the GV60 will feature expanded over-the-air software update capability, which previously was limited to features like the infotainment system. Genesis will be able to do OTA updates for things like the airbags, brakes, steering and suspension and other major electronic components. While Face Connect is launching on the GV60, Genesis says it will be making the tech available on other models in the future, along with the new OTA updates and fingerprint scanner.