BMW Motorrad has introduced today a new security system called the BMW iFace for its popular and highly sought-after Boxer models. The system is designed to address the problem of motorcycle theft, which has been a growing concern among motorcycle owners. BMW Motorrad has collaborated with Professor Dr. Dr. Gerhard Lesjöh, head of the world’s leading institute for ophthalmology at the University of Munich, to develop this innovative security solution.

First ever in a motorcycle

The BMW iFace is a facial recognition system that eliminates the need for a traditional ignition key and complements the existing Keyless Go technology. It is the first such system to be implemented in the motorcycle industry. The system uses the latest 3D technology, which is integrated into the ultra-modern BMW Motorrad TFT display, to scan the rider’s face and authenticate their identity. The system also employs iris-cornea comparison of the eyes to ensure a definitive identification.

The 3D scanning technology used in the BMW iFace is based on stripe projection, which has been widely used in reverse engineering for many years. The system captures a three-dimensional image of the rider’s face and compares it 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. The system uses infrared scanning, which makes it functional even in the dark.

Dual authentication

The BMW iFace is a dual system that offers two methods of authentication to ensure maximum comfort and safety. The rider can be authenticated using face recognition without a helmet or by iris-cornea scanning of the eyes, even with the helmet on. The system uses infrared technology to ensure that the scanning process functions even in absolute darkness. The system can scan through heavily tinted and mirrored visors, different types of glasses, and contact lenses, thanks to a special polarization filter.

The BMW iFace is also designed to help locate stolen motorcycles. In case of an attempted theft, the system communicates with the eCall electronic emergency service. The BMW Motorrad Call Centre receives a message about the attempted theft via a special code, and the scan data (face or eye scan) and the current geographical position data are transmitted to the international central database of the Federal Police authorities. If the database contains corresponding data material, the search for the person concerned can be initiated immediately. Otherwise, the transmitted scan data will be stored in this database for possible use at a later date.

The BMW iFace has been developed and tested in field trials over a period of more than three years. BMW Motorrad would like to thank the Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation and Giovanni Häberle, an expert in vehicle theft and burglary protection, for their invaluable assistance in developing the system. The BMW iFace will be presented at one of the autumn motorshows in 2023 and will initially be used on BMW Motorrad Boxer models.