November 2, 2007

Hitachi Ltd announced today the development of finger vein authentification technology which provides authorised driver verification in a fraction of a second just by gripping the steering wheel. This technology is expected to play an important role in future car information systems to prevent unauthorised access as information technology (IT) systems become increasingly integrated in automobiles; for example, authorising automatic payment in drive-throughs or payment for music downloads to car audio systems, as well as preventing car theft. Further, by registering different functions to each finger, it is possible to use the system as a multi function switch enabling, for example, one finger to set the driving environment such as seat or side mirror position, airconditioning, etc. to suit the verified driver, and another finger to operate car navigation or car audio systems. Another advantage is that the system does not require the driver to glance to an operating panel and select a button, thus supporting even safer driving in a
natural position.

An automobile exhibit fitted with the technology is on display at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show 2007 from 27th October through to 11th November 2007. Security consciousness has increased in recent years as crimes such as unauthorised entry or access to cars, information, etc. become increasingly visible. Amidst this current situation, in the field of personal identification, attention is being focused on biometric methods of personal verification to provide greater security. In relation to automobiles, as well as security of the vehicle itself, there is also a growing demand to be able to enjoy the vehicle as a comfortable private space reflecting the driver?s preferences. Hitachi has been developing an original biometric, finger vein authentification technology, which uses the finger vein pattern obtained from passing light through a finger as a key since 1997. In 2005, a grip-type finger vein authentification technology was developed, enabling a door to be opened simply by gripping the handle. Since then, Hitachi has been working to develop an even more compact system to extend market applications.

In this development, the area of the finger scanned was changed from the finger surface to the side of the finger, and together with other improvements, provide easy operation as well as high security, and the possibility of developing new value. By this, the process from opening the car to authorising in-vehicle payment can be conducted without a key and protected by finger vein security as well as instantly providing the driver with a specific comfortable driving environment.