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BMW iFace: The World’s First Motorcycle Face and Eye Recognition Security System

BMW Motorrad is taking riders into the future of motorcycle anti-theft devices with the introduction of BMW iFace, the world’s first face and eye recognition system for motorcycles. Set to initially be released on BMW R-series Boxer models, iFace uses the latest 3D and infrared technology and allows riders the choice to do a full 3D scan without a helmet on or just an iris-cornea scan, even through visors, glasses, or contacts. For more information, read the press release from BMW Motorrad below.

BMW Motorrad Boxer models are among the most popular and sought-after motorcycles in the world – unfortunately also among thieves. BMW Motorrad is now the first motorcycle manufacturer in the world to meet this challenge with BMW iFace, a face recognition system that makes the previous ignition key superfluous and perfectly complements the existing Keyless Go technology.

BMW iFace was developed in cooperation with Professor Dr. Dr. Gerhard Lesjöh, head of the world’s leading institute for ophthalmology at the University of Munich. The system offers facial recognition of the rider’s face and an iris-cornea comparison of the eyes for definite identification on the other.

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BMW iFace: 3D Scan and Infrared Scanning Technology

Face recognition uses the latest 3D technology integrated into the ultra-modern BMW Motorrad TFT display, which is not visible from the outside. This is carried out by means of stripe projection, a technology that has been used for many years, for example in reverse engineering. With the helmet removed, the face is scanned three-dimensionally and biometrically.

This three-dimensional image is compared with a data record stored in the system. If the calibration is positive, the ignition, steering lock, and other locking functions are released, and the rider can start the motorcycle. Since the 3D scan works with infrared scanning, this type of face recognition also works in the dark.

BMW iFace Iris Cornea Matching

BMW iFace operates as a dual system to achieve the highest-level of comfort and safety. The rider can be authenticated either using face recognition (without a helmet) or by iris-cornea scanning of the eyes. This type of authentication enables the system to identify the rider even with the helmet on, as only the iris and cornea are scanned and compared with the data stored in the system.

As with the 3D scan, infrared technology ensures functional reliability even in absolute darkness. In addition, a special polarization filter enables the scanning process even through heavily tinted and even mirrored visors, different types of glasses, and contact lenses. The rider enters the type of visor and visual aid he is currently using in the display prior to the scanning process using the corresponding menu functions.

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Worldwide Networking Enables Identification of Thieves

In case of an attempted theft, BMW iFace communicates with the eCall electronic emergency service. Not only does the BMW Motorrad Call Centre receive a corresponding message about the attempted theft via a special code, but the scan data (face or eye scan) and the current geographical position data are transmitted in parallel to the international central database of the Federal Police authorities.

If corresponding data material is found there, the search for the person concerned can be initiated immediately. If no suitable data is available, the transmitted scan data will be stored in this database for possible use at a later date.

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BMW iFace Field Trials

BMW iFace has been developed and tested in field trials over a period of more than three years.

“Our special thanks go not only to the Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation, but especially to Giovanni Häberle,” said Dr. Burkhard Hund, head of Theft Protection at BMW Motorrad. “Today a respected owner of a consulting firm for theft and burglary protection in the Stuttgart-Stammheim area, the Swabian was an invaluable help to us in developing this system thanks to his decades of expertise as a professional vehicle thief.”

BMW iFace will be presented at one of the autumn motorshows in 2023 and will initially be used on the BMW Motorrad Boxer models.

Ed. Note: This press release from BMW Motorrad came in on Saturday, April 1, and perhaps it was the festivities of Friday, March 31, or the fact that we were checking our email after logging into our phone with our fingerprint or ruminating on how Facebook chose to end their face recognition system at the end of 2021, but this new tech from BMW sounded pretty awesome and like something from Blade Runner (which was supposed to take place in the far-future of 2019, if you recall; we’re still waiting for our flying car…or maybe motorcycle). Anyway, whatever the reasons, we got suckered in hook, line, and sinker by this April Fools’ joke. It’s not often we see this kind of humor from the German motorcycle manufacturer, but for another good one that snared us, check out this post from 2017.

See all of Rider‘s BMW coverage here.

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