Hyundai introduces fingerprint scanner to unlock cars in China

December 20, 2018

Chinese drivers will be able to lock and unlock the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe just as they do their smartphones and laptop computers. 

Hyundai revealed the Chinese-market 2019 Santa Fe at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition last weekend and it also unveiled fingerprint-scanning technology to unlock and start the vehicle. The Korea Herald reported on the new technology and said the addition of the flashy system is an effort to change perceptions of the brand locally. Hyundai has struggled to gain traction in the world's largest auto market against Chinese and European brands. 

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Hyundai added the system has a 1 in 50,000 chance of failure as it relies on human capacitance for clean reads of a fingerprint. In other words, the scanner reads electricity levels in other parts of the finger to ensure success and prevent forgery.

However, the move is still a risky one for the South Korean automaker. Other automakers have shied away from installing similar technology on door handles since the technology needs to work flawlessly in all weather conditions. The scanner must prove successful on hot days, in the rain, and in the cold or freezing temperatures. ZDNet reported these durability concerns have put fingerprint scanning technology on the backburner at many other automakers. But, with the launch, Hyundai will become the first brand to offer the technology.

When a driver scans their fingerprint to enter the car, the 2019 Santa Fe will automatically configure some settings to the driver. The crossover will adjust the driver's seat position and exterior mirrors, for example, when it identifies a registered user.

The Car Connection reached out to Hyundai for more information on the technology and to learn if the system will be offered in North America. We'll update this story if we hear back.

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