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BMW Motorrad presents BMW iFace; anti-theft face and eye recognition system

BMW Motorrad is introducing BMW iFace—a face recognition system that makes the previous ignition key superfluous and complements the existing Keyless Go technology.

BMW iFace was developed in cooperation with Professor Dr Gerhard Lesjöh, head of the institute for ophthalmology at the University of Munich. The system offers facial recognition of the rider’s face on the one hand and also an iris-cornea comparison of the eyes for definite identification on the other.

Face recognition uses the latest 3D technology integrated into the BMW Motorrad TFT display, which is not visible from the outside. This is carried out by means of stripe projection, a technology that has been used for many years for example in reverse engineering. With the helmet removed, the face is scanned three-dimensionally and biometrically.

This three-dimensional image is compared with a data record stored in the system. If the calibration is positive, the ignition, steering lock and other locking functions are released and the rider can start the motorcycle. Since the 3D scan works with infrared scanning, this type of face recognition also works in the dark.

Iris cornea matching for maximum authentication. BMW iFace operates as a dual system to achieve highest-level comfort and safety. For example, the rider can be authenticated either using face recognition (without helmet) or by iris-cornea scanning of the eyes. This type of authentication enables the system to identify the rider even with the helmet on, as only the iris and cornea are scanned and compared with the data stored in the system.

Here too, infrared technology ensures functional reliability even in absolute darkness. A special polarization filter enables the scanning process even through heavily tinted and even mirrored visors, different types of glasses and contact lenses. The rider enters the type of visor and visual aid he is currently using in the display prior to the scanning process using the corresponding menu functions.


In case of an attempted theft, BMW iFace communicates with the eCall electronic emergency service. Not only does the BMW Motorrad Call Center receive a corresponding message about the attempted theft via a special code, but the scan data (face or eye scan) and the current geographical position data are transmitted in parallel to the international central database of the German Federal Police authorities.

If corresponding data material is found there, the search for the person concerned can be initiated immediately. If no suitable data is available, the transmitted scan data will be stored in this database for possible use at a later date.

BMW iFace has been developed and tested in field trials over a period of more than three years.

Our special thanks go not only to the Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation, but especially to Giovanni Häberle. Today a respected owner of a consulting firm for theft and burglary protection in the Stuttgart-Stammheim area, the Swabian was an invaluable help to us in developing this system thanks to his decades of expertise as a professional vehicle thief.

—Dr. Burkhard Hund, Head of Theft Protection at BMW Motorrad

BMW iFace will be presented at one of the autumn motorshows in 2023 and will initially be used on the BMW Motorrad Boxer models.


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