Hyundai could ditch car keys for eye-scanners

Dystopian, ingenious, or a complete waste of time? Patent filings reveal strange new plans from one of the world’s biggest car makers.


Hyundai and its subsidiaries could ditch traditional car keys for futuristic eye-scanners, newly published patents suggest.

Since 2016 the Korean car giant has filed to protect at least five designs in the USA referencing “an apparatus for recognising an iris.”

The documents suggest the feature would be used to verify the identity of a driver before the vehicle could be switched on.



According to designers, the technology would comprise “a camera configured to acquire eyeball image data” and “a computer program to extract [this] information.”

JaeHo Lee and Seon A Kim are listed as the inventors of the eye scanner. According to LinkedIn, both are currently employed as research engineers at Hyundai.

The is no timeline for the technology’s roll-out, and the existence of patent filings does not guarantee a design is destined for production.



Manufacturers often file to protect products to safeguard against future developments, or prevent competitors from appropriating an idea.

However, this is not the first time biometric devices have been incorporated into vehicle design by the automotive industry.



Since 2019, Hyundai and its luxury brand Genesis have installed a similar fingerprint feature on some models – including the Santa Fe SUV and GV70.

You can read all of Drive‘s stories about high-tech designs and manufacturer patents by clicking here.

William Davis

William Davis has written for Drive since July 2020, covering news and current affairs in the automotive industry.

He has maintained a primary focus on industry trends, autonomous technology, electric vehicle regulations, and local environmental policy.

As the newest addition to the Drive team, William was brought onboard for his attention to detail, writing skills, and strong work ethic.

Despite writing for a diverse range of outlets – including the Australian Financial Review, Robb Report, and Property Observer – since completing his media degree at Macquarie University, William has always had a passion for cars.

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