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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Cars will soon be able to recognize you by your eyes, skin, gait and even your heartbeat, enabling a host of personalized experiences but raising troubling privacy questions, too.
Why it matters: New biometric technologies being developed by automakers will authenticate your identity and help keep you safe by also monitoring your health and wellbeing. But unless carefully guarded, that personal data can also be easily exploited by cybercriminals.
What's happening: Automakers and their suppliers are working on a variety of driver-identification technologies such as facial and iris scans, as well as voice and fingerprint tracking.
What's next: Such ID features are coming in the next year or so, followed by a second wave of more advanced biometric technologies. Goode Intelligence projects the market for automotive-related biometric content may reach nearly $1 billion by 2023.
"My body is my life password."— Martin Zizi, Aerendir
Yes, but: Just as facial recognition systems are sounding alarms about privacy and human rights, biometric technologies in vehicles raise privacy concerns, experts say.
The big picture: As cars evolve into smartphones on wheels, the industry focus is on personalization — delivering convenient, tailored experiences such as enabling in-car payments, easing daily stress or communicating with city infrastructure.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
All eyes are on Uber, which started trading this morning on the New York Stock Exchange after pricing shares on Thursday at $45 apiece, at the low end of its expected range. NYSE folks expect first Uber trades at around noon ET.
By the numbers: The ride-hailing giant itself raised $8.6 billion, including a concurrent $500 million investment from PayPal. Insiders are expected to sell another 27 million shares, generating $1.2 billion. This puts its initial market cap at around $75.5 billion, and its fully diluted value just north of $82 billion.
Our thought bubble on the IPO, from tech writer Ina Fried: Investors are likely trying to weigh the tough economics of today's ride-hailing business with the prospect that the game changes once autonomous vehicles arrive en masse.
That said, it will be quite a while before autonomous vehicles are able to replace human drivers on a large-scale basis. And even then, it's not clear that Uber's network advantage will be as important as having the best and most efficient vehicle technology, which could advantage Waymo or even traditional car makers.
Check out Ina's interview with CNBC's Jon Fortt.
GM is seeking government approval for a car with no steering wheel. Photo: GM
Mandi Damman, chief engineer of autonomous vehicles at GM, fought off comparisons to Tesla while sharing an update on the company's AV progress with investors Thursday at Citi's 2019 Car of the Future Symposium.
Why it matters: Damman was peppered with investor questions trying to gauge GM's progress against Tesla, which last month claimed a huge technological advantage from its newly introduced AV computer chip and data collected from 425,000 AutoPilot-equipped vehicles already on the road.
Here's what else she had to say:
On regulation: GM aims to help shape government policy on AVs.
On potential backlash from high-profile accidents involving AV prototypes:
On Tesla drivers spotted sleeping at 80 miles per hour:
On when Cruise will be ready: "Nobody's ever done this before. It's difficult to predict when we will have every edge case solved and are 100% sure we can pull the driver."
Ambulance chasers: Crash scene investigations, with automakers on the case (Tom Voelk — The New York Times)
Social cost: Driverless cars: researchers have made a wrong turn (Ashley Nunes — Nature)
Autopilot crash: "Tesla saved my life", says owner after walking away from high-speed crash on Autopilot (Fred Lambert — Electrek)
Infiniti QX50. Photo: Infiniti
This week's ride is the 2019 Infiniti Qx50, a premium mid-sized crossover that comes with an innovative, efficiency-minded engine and a ton of advanced driver-assist features.
What I love: The QX50 is gorgeous inside and out, with lots of room for people and cargo.
What disappoints: The dual-screen infotainment system is confusing and difficult to use. And it doesn't come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is available in most competitors.
Driver assistance: Standard ADAS features on the QX50 include rear- and surround-view cameras, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and forward emergency braking.
It's the first Infiniti to come with ProPilot Assist, which provides highway-driving assistance and can take full control in stop-and-go traffic.
The bottom line: The QX5o is good, not great. The front-wheel-drive model I'm driving starts at $43,350, but with ProPilot Assist and a $7,500 "sensory package" of premium features, the price jumps to $55,285.