BMW Motorrad Rolls Out Facial Recognition

Estimated read time 2 min read

How long until thieves realize you’re the key?

In a press release issued unironically on April Fools, BMW Motorrad announced iFace, its new facial recognition technology meant to thwart motorcycle thieves. You see, just like with cars, criminals have been swiping an increasing number of bikes. Those theft rings really like BMW Boxers, so the Germans thought the perfect solution was to make your face the key.

Find out how a car theft victim blew the lid off a whole criminal operation here.

That means the motorcycle is able to use 3D technology to scan not only your face but also to run an iris-cornea comparison to really make sure it’s you and not your doppelganger. However, it sounds like the system won’t do the face scan with your helmet on, even if you flip up the face shield. That’s not ideal but it’s apparently how the tech functions, for now. The eye scan will still work even with your visor down, so that’s at least more convenient.

If someone who isn’t you tries to start the motorcycle, their face image is captured and the eCall onboard electronic emergency service receives that data. This is assuming the police in your area has the time and resources to go after someone actively trying to steal your bike, because many departments are underfunded and overrun with more serious crimes these days.

What’s even worse about this technology is since you’re the key to starting your BMW motorcycle, thieves might decide to start holding owners at gunpoint or knifepoint while forcing them to scan their face. The likelihood people will be hurt or killed in the process, especially once the bike is unlocked, is quite high. After all, we’re seeing a big uptick in carjackings and this could only fuel that.

Surely BMW thinks it’s played some sort of trump card against thieves here. We would much rather have someone attack the ignition on our motorcycle and lose it that way than to have the thieves hold us under threat of extreme violence so we can unlock it. However, a lot of people are excited for this new security feature. Hopefully we’re wrong and this unintended consequence doesn’t become a reality, but we have a bad feeling it will.

Images via BMW Motorrad

Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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    The Auto Wire

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