An autonomous vehicle called ‘BB8’ is nothing to do with the rollabout robot from Star Wars, but may well be one of the first vehicles to include facial recognition as a replacement for your car keys.
VisionLabs and NVIDIA have been working on BB8, which was unveiled at NVIDIA’s GTC Europe in Munich last week.
Why include facial recognition in an autonomous vehicle? The companies say the ultimate goal is to improve the driving experience, which makes a driver’s life both safer and easier.
The car scans the driver’s face, recognises the vehicle’s owner as they approach the car. It then re-confirms the identity of the driver and passengers, to enable smart keyless access and personalisation and control of the car.
Because there are no keys, it could even reduce the risk of car theft, according to the designers.
One (somewhat ambiguous) statement says that the system monitors the driver’s condition to keep them safe during the ride). Although it’s not clear how, we may just have to wait and see until the tech is rolled out to commercial vehicle fleets.
The technology behind the facial recognition can be used as a plugin on the NVIDIA DRIVE IX intelligence user experience platform, with the power of the NVIDIA DRIVE AGX supercomputer working behind the scenes.
"Facial recognition becomes more common in our everyday life, giving us the opportunity to have an entirely new daily experience," says VisionLabs founder and CEO Alexander Khanin.
“DRIVE IX enables AI-based features for automotive manufacturers, partners, and developers to realise next generation of experiences inside their vehicles,” says NVIDIA senior director of software and head of Drive IX platform, Ratin Kumar.
“Automotive AI for face identification is a unique challenge — it must operate robustly while enabling recognition in a secure and user-friendly manner. NVIDIA and VisionLabs have worked together to enable innovative convenience features using DRIVE IX software.”
NVIDIA DRIVE IX leverages the performance of the NVIDIA DRIVE AGX platform, a scalable computing architecture that enables automakers and tier 1 suppliers to accelerate production of automated and autonomous vehicles.