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Auto supplier debuts innovations at CES

January 6, 2017
TAGS Gentex
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Gentex biometric rear-view mirror
A vehicle authenticates a driver with a biometric rear-view mirror. Courtesy Gentex

An auto supplier in the area debuted a trio of new technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Zeeland-based Gentex said it launched its new biometric mirror, three-camera rear-vision system and upgraded HomeLink vehicle-based wireless control system during the trade show this week.

While the “off-the-shelf” products are available today for vehicle integration, Gentex said most of its products require “deep integration” into a vehicle, and automakers will more than likely customize the products, rather than purchase them as is.

Based on new car development cycles, the products will likely be available in new car models in three to five years.

Biometric mirror

The biometric mirror authenticates a driver and delivers “customized security, comfort and convenience features.”

When the driver enters the vehicle, the rear-view-mirror-integrated biometric system can identify the driver and if authorized, start the car and personalize set up, by automatically adjusting mirrors, the steering wheel, the seat, music, GPS locations and more.

Gentex said the system can also provide added security for home-automation services and vehicle transactions.

Steve Downing, Gentex SVP, said the system would be “perfect” for “new and evolving mobility solutions,” such as car-sharing programs.

“The biometric system would identify the driver, authorize vehicle use and allocate payment, including incidentals like tolls and parking, and eventually even gas and fast food,” Downing said.

Exterior monitoring

Gentex’s new exterior monitoring system uses three cameras to provide a comprehensive view of the sides and rear of the vehicle.

The side-view cameras are discretely housed in reduced-sized exterior mirrors. Their video feeds are combined with the feed of a roof-mounted camera and stitched together into multiple composite views, which are streamed to the driver via a rear-view-mirror-integrated display.

Downing said the camera system also provides a “fail-safe view” should weather or system failure impede the digital view.

He added Gentex believes its system is the “first practical camera monitoring system” in the industry.

HomeLink

Gentex’s existing HomeLink car-to-home automation system, which uses radio frequency, or RF, to connect with devices. The system consists of three in-vehicle buttons that can be programmed to operate garage doors, security gates, home lighting and other RF-controlled devices.

With next-generation HomeLink with wireless, cloud-based connectivity, the system can also communicate with an app on the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy.

The app contains pre-defined, user-programmed actions, from single-device operations to entire home-automation scenes.

The app, in turn, communicates to the home’s smart hub over the cloud server network and activates the appropriate devices, including security systems, door locks, thermostats, lighting and other home-automation devices.

“It’s comprehensive vehicle-to-home automation made easy,” Downing said.

He said the driver is able to prepare the home for arrival or departure with one button press.

“For the automaker, it allows them to offer a customizable yet proven solution without the engineering effort or security concerns associated with integrating the software into the vehicle’s computer network,” Downing said.

Gentex’s new biometric technology can also be used in conjunction with HomeLink to provide added security and convenience for multiple drivers by activating the home-automation pre-sets of different authorized users.

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