Security concerns for vehicles continue to be a constantly evolving challenge for vehicle makers and owners. As a result, security devices of various types are finding their way into the market. One of the latest entrants in this space is Biomatiques Identification Solutions Pvt Ltd. The company has introduced an iris scanner, which can be used in vehicles to manage access, based on an eye scan. We spoke to Tamaal Roy, CEO, Biomatiques Identification Solutions, to know more about this new technology and its prospects.
Biomatiques Identification Solutions – the only local manufacturer of such scanners in the country, and the 13th globally – has been providing eye scanners for the Indian government's Aadhaar programme. Its entry in the automotive domain is fairly recent. In fact, the idea to offer iris scanners in vehicles was inspired by the growth of biometrics in the country due to the Aadhaar scheme, said Roy.
Iris scanners can be fixed inside the rear view mirror and one can get keyless access using only his/ her iris identity. Roy told us that this technology is more accurate than other biometric methods and offers an error ratio of 1:1.5 mn compared to 1:10,000 of others. The iris scanner has a digital camera embedded along with software that captures the image of the eye, which includes the iris. The process involves analysing image data, generating algorithmic patterns and finally storing the pattern data. When recognition is desired, another image is taken and pattern data from that image is matched to the stored data. The system can complete a scan in just 200 ms, making the security process hassle-free.
It can be integrated into automobiles as well as used as a standalone product that can complement the existing automobile set-up. Once authenticated, the scanner allows a user to start the vehicle engine. Roy told us that this technology isn't too expensive and requires no maintenance once fitted. Since the system can be fitted to any part of the vehicle, it can be integrated into vehicles of various types, including two-wheelers. Sized similar to a phone camera's sensor, the system doesn't affect the aesthetics of any vehicle as well.
Being a scalable system, the uses of this system can stretch further and aid safety as well. Iris scanner can be used to provide vehicle access to a certain number of individuals only. User profiles too can be defined for different people, which mean, for instance, that parents can set a speed limit for the vehicle whenever it's being driven by their children. This feature should catch the fancy of many parents and fleet operators as well.
Roy told us that the response from the Indian automotive sector hasn't been great yet, but these are early days for this technology and things could improve. Main customers for the company include ECU makers, and OBD (on-board diagnostics) suppliers. These companies can directly embed the scanner into their units and then offer transmission of data to a customer's mobile phone as well.
While the domestic market may some time to accept this solution, Biomatiques also aims to supply this solution to international markets in the future. Hopes for the success of this technology are strong for Roy since he firmly believes that sooner or later the need for such security devices, which cannot be hacked into or by-passed, will become prominent.
Backed by a steady business from the government, Roy aims to diversify into newer sectors to develop future growth opportunities. The technology is capable and the company has the required resources to produce volumes. The only missing part is customer response, which the company is trying to address through better communication with the industry. It'll be interesting to see how the future of this new technology shapes up in the Indian market.
Text: Arpit Mahendra