• 5 Ways iPhone’s Face ID will Change the Way we Drive

If you went back to 1984 when Apple released the very first Macintosh computer and told Steve Jobs that Apple’s creation would eventually lead to us carrying around hand-held computers with excessive amounts of computing power called the iPhone, he probably would have laughed in your face and kicked you in the nuts. Yet, on June 29, 2007, the very first iPhone was released, and the inevitable battle between Android and IOS was officially in the works. Aside from getting thinner and more powerful, the iPhone really hasn’t changed that much. Things got shook up not that long ago when the 3.5mm headphone jack was done with, but outside of computing power, battery life, the sheer size and weight, it’s pretty much the same. With the introduction of the iPhone X, however, we get a new feature known as Face ID and, while it’s received some criticism so far, it seems to be finding more favorability over time.

With distracted driving and just playing on your phone while in the car becoming an increasingly annoying and dangerous issue from which there is no escape, it’s time we find a way to combat it from the base level. As such, the TopSpeed staff has sat down to discuss how something like Face ID could change the way we drive in the future. Maybe it will deny you access while moving, or penalize you when attempting to circumvent the system while driving. Maybe it will allow all people in the car to have access to the infotainment system via Apple CarPlay. Or, maybe it will be used to detect how you’re feeling and change various aspects of the vehicle interior like lighting or temperature. Well, we’ve explored a little bit of all this, so check out what each of us think below then fill us in on your thoughts in the comments section. We can’t wait to hear what you all think!!!

Apple’s New Face ID Could Help Regulate Distracted Driving!

5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive
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It’s an entertaining thought, and one that could actually work…

By:Robert Moore
It never fails. You pull out of your driveway, and I bet you don’t get two blocks from your house without seeing at least one moron with their phone affixed to their face as they attempt to negotiate a mildly busy residential street. As that 22-year-old girl veers gently toward the curb, almost taking out a Mazda and scaring some old senior citizen to death, you think to yourself, “it just gets worse by the day.” And, your thought would be correct. You know, texting and driving wasn’t as big a deal when you could text with one thumb and had the letters and sequence memorized for each word. Nowadays, we’ve devolved in terms of phone size and are back to toting around bricks yet again. By the time the Samsung Note 10 comes out, you’ll need a carrying bag to haul the thing around just like those old-school cell phones 20 years ago. Back to the topic at hand, these bricks of phones that we carry have become a electronic version of death just waiting to strike whenever that screen turns on with an idiot behind the wheel. Apple’s new Face ID, however, could put an end to that, but how???

You know, texting and driving wasn’t as big a deal when you could text with one thumb and had the letters and sequence memorized for each word

Well, folks, the answer is simple. You’re going to unlock your phone with your face, right? Well, that same camera can identify you in the driver’s seat (or verify your position in the car against your speed based on GPS location) and could, quite literally, deny you access to unlock your phone until you stop the car. Take this scenario, for example. You’re cruising down the highway and decide to check Facebook. Well, when you hold your new, overpriced, and outdated iPhone X up to your face, you get nothing but a voice command that says “please pull over to unlock your phone.” Or, perhaps the message will say “Please pay attention to the road.” Of course, now I’m imagining scenarios where Siri actually gets a bit of an attitude and says something along the lines of “this is the fourth time, quit being an idiot and wait until you get home.”

On that note, Siri could even lock you out of your own phone until the vehicle is no longer moving and verified by GPS that you’re off the road after too many attempted violations. A small piece of code that could literally make it impossible to use your phone while the car is in motion would work wonders, and there’s a temporary lockout if you try too many times. Hell, Siri could even automatically lock the phone if you’re in the driver’s seat and the car starts moving – and all of the sudden, deaths from distracted driving drop by 50 percent. So how about it, Apple? Ready to do the right thing?

Could Face ID Finally Free Passengers to Multi-Task in Apple CarPlay?

5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive
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A solution for those not behind the wheel

By:Mark McNabb
After reading Robert’s thoughts on the new Apple iPhone X, the Face ID feature, and how it relates to distracted driving, I’m left hoping Apple does employ the facial recognition software to prevent a driver from using the phone from behind the wheel. While that might suck for some, it should help cut distracted driving crashes by a good percentage. And though it’s not as important, Apple could also use the technology to identify a passenger in a vehicle and unlock multi-tasking features within Apple CarPlay.

A user also cannot control streaming music on the infotainment screen without switching the iPhone’s current app to the music service

Currently, Apple CarPlay limits the use applications while plugged into a car’s CarPlay enabled infotainment system. For example, a user cannot read and reply to text messages on the phone if it’s doing also running CarPlay on the infotainment screen. A user also cannot control streaming music on the infotainment screen without switching the iPhone’s current app to the music service. In other words, someone can’t play games or surf on their iPhone while someone else controls the song choice on the car’s infotainment screen without interrupting the phone user’s game or browsing.

Lets say Apple does develop the Face ID system to locate an occupant within a car and restrict/permit use of certain applications while in motion, it would make iPhone users far more likely to play by the rules while making CarPlay use skyrocket. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. What’s more, Apple could use the iPhone’s location to determine where the driver should be sitting; the left side for North America, the right side for Europe. How cool would that be?

Facial Recognition To Better Suit Your Mood

5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive
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Custom settings, automatically

By:Jonathan Lopez

I’ve heard that something like 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. The way you move, the way you hold your body, and critically, facial expressions are all ways to say a lot, even if your mouth is saying just a little. To humans, interpreting this sort of stuff is natural, almost subconscious. You can usually tell how someone is feeling just by looking at them. A scowl or big smile is all you need to see, making phrases like “I’m angry” or “I’m happy” practically redundant.

With that in mind, technology like the Apple Face ID could be adapted to myriad purposes, including interpretation of the driver and passenger’s mood. Yeah, it’s not an explicit application of the current state of the tech, but just hear me out.

Technology like the Apple Face ID could be adapted to myriad purposes, including interpretation of the driver and passenger’s mood

What if the technology could be used to adapt specific onboard systems to better suit your mood? For example, let’s say you’ve had a rough day at work, and you’re feeling a bit on edge. Scratch that – you’re feeling pissed off. Odds are your face would be communicating that (mouth all bunched up, furrowed brow, flared nostrils, etc.). If your car could identify your mood via facial cues, it would be able to adapt accordingly – kick in the back massager, turn on some relaxing music, maybe lower the interior light levels. Maybe the onboard systems could even do stuff like soften the throttle response, steering ratio, and automatic transmission shift points to even out the ride as you angrily hammer in the inputs.

Conversely, let’s say you’re in a great mood. The car could respond with some upbeat music and brighter ambient lighting, possibly even setting the suspension up for a sportier ride and changing the navigation to run through your favorite back road.

If stuff like this were implemented in commercial passenger vehicles, it would deepen the relationship we enjoy with our machines, moving away from the doom and gloom that so many autonomous naysayers seem to harp on. And that’s a good thing, in my opinion.

No to Face ID!

5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive
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Can you tell I’m not a fan?

By:Kirby Garlitos

I don’t want to be the contrarian here, but I think I have to be this time. Time to put on my Grinch mask and shoot down Apple’s Face ID. First of all, I think it could change the way we drive, but not for the better. In fact, I think it could lead to more accidents on the road. Sure, I understand the technological advancements involved in making this feature come to life. It’s good to see Apple finally sitting up from its couch (presumably made from hundred dollar bills) and start doing something new for a change. But I’m not buying the narrative that the Face ID feature is revolutionary and cuts the chances of us getting into road accidents. I will reserve the right to change my mind if everything that Rob says comes to life, but at this point, I’m not letting Scotty beam me up on this one.

If you’re driving a car and you want to use the feature, you’re going to have to literally put the phone in front of your face for the function to work

My big issue with Face ID is that it’s is not that simple to use. For instance, if you’re driving a car and you want to use the feature, you’re going to have to literally put the phone in front of your face for the function to work. It would’ve been cooler if the technology can detect your face while it’s sitting in a cup holder, but it can’t do that. Some people might argue that a phone holder on the dashboard is a solution, and while that would be correct, the feature also involves the driver having to swipe the screen up to complete the locking process. That means in that scenario, he’s going to have to reach for his phone, look at it, and then use his one hand to swipe up on the screen. Easy? Far from it, actually.

Here’s my next point. What’s the guarantee that Face ID can capture your face in one attempt and immediately unlock your phone? The answer: there is none. Apple itself botched the demo of the Face ID when it was launched! Remember that? Apple shareholders do because the stock prices of the company fell when that boo-boo happened! If you want further evidence of how reliable Face ID can be, look no further than Touch ID. I’ve been an iPhone user for God knows how long, and I can tell you that I stopped using Touch ID a long time ago. Why? Because it’s not reliable to begin with. More often than note, it still asks me to put in my passcode, which defeats the whole purpose of the Touch ID to begin with. I don’t think Face ID is going to be a better solution.

It’s a new trick for the iPhone and I’m sure that’s going to get a lot of people excited. But in the end, I think it’s still a long ways away from being the kind of revolutionary feature that Apple is already making it out to be.

It Could, But There’s a Catch!

5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive
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It won’t happen anytime soon

By:Ciprian Florea

When it comes to safety behind the steering wheels, there are a few things we need to be honest about. The most important is that humans are prone to use their phones to talk, text, and check out their social media profiles. We’re so hooked on living our lives through mobile devices and Internet that it has become a major safety issue. And I’ll be honest here and admit that I’ve done it a few times. And unfortunately, I know a lot of people that got into accident for using the phone behind the steering wheel.

So yeah, I guess Apple’s new Face ID could be used to regulate distracted driving. But there’s more to this story than "hey, let’s integrate this feature with our cars and block access to the phone while the cars is moving." Robert’s idea of a system that locks you out of your phone and tells you to watch the damn road is as funny as it is necessary — and it could be implemented quite easily — but things aren’t as simple as that. Because we live in an era when phones aren’t just means to keep in touch with our loved owns, but also a crucial devices for business. So I’m most certain that a lot of folks won’t take kindly to having no access to their mobile phone while driving. Let’s face it, there are time when the phone rings and you have to answer it. And sometimes, like when you’re on the highway, you can’t just stop to take a call.

We need a set of regulations before Face ID becomes the app that prevents distracted driving

So this basically means we need a set of regulations before Face ID becomes the app that prevents distracted driving. It’s also necessary that Apple develops a solid version of its new gadget, because we’ve seen it fail a few times. Trying to insert a password while driving isn’t the safest thing to do and defeats the purpose of Face ID.

As far as regulations go, it’s somewhat useless if only iPhone users get restricted from spending time on their phones while driving. So this Face ID thing needs to become a global function that’s offered in all phones. And all phones need to have special software to limit access to internet and apps when connected to a car. Bottom line, while Face ID could enhance safety at the wheel, it will take a few years to see something like this become the norm. It’s something we need to see happen, but it’ll take a solid cooperation between all major phone manufacturers as well as carmakers. And we know how that goes, just at how slow we are toward making the car industry a green, more sustainable business.


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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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