If you have Face ID set up on your iPhone, you can unlock your device by showing it your visage instead of using a pin code or a thumb print. It’s a familiar aspect of smartphone tech for many of us, but what about using it to get in your vehicle?

The Genesis GV60 is the first car to feature this technology to unlock and enter the car, pairing it with your fingerprint to start it up.

How does it work? Here’s what we discovered.

The Genesis GV60 is a tech-laden EV

Officially announced in the fall of 2022, the GV60 is Genesis’ first dedicated all-electric vehicle. Genesis, for the uninitiated, is the luxury arm of Korea-based automaker Hyundai. 

Built on the new Electric-Global Modular Platform, the GV60 is equipped with two electric motors, and the result is an impressive ride. At the entry level, the GV60 Advanced gets 314 horsepower, and the higher-level Performance trim cranks out 429 horsepower. As a bonus, the Performance also includes a Boost button that can kick it up to 483 horsepower for 10 seconds; with that in play, the GV60 boasts a 0-to-60 mph time of less than four seconds.

The profile of this EV is handsome, especially in the look-at-me shade of São Paulo Lime. Inside, the EV is just as fetching as the exterior, with cool touches like the rotating gear shifter. As soon as the car starts up, a crystal orb rotates to reveal a notched shifter that looks and feels futuristic. Some might say it’s gimmicky, but it does have a wonderful ergonomic feel on the pads of the fingers.

The rotating gear selector.
The rotating gear selector. Kristin Shaw

Embedded in the glossy black trim of the B-pillar, which is the part of the frame between the front and rear doors, the facial recognition camera stands ready to let you into the car without a key. But first, you’ll need to set it up to recognize you and up to one other user, so the car can be accessed by a partner, family member, or friend. Genesis uses deep learning to power this feature, and if you’d like to learn more about artificial intelligence, read our explainer on AI.

The facial recognition setup process

You’ll need both sets of the vehicle’s smart keys (Genesis’ key fobs) in hand to set up Face Connect, Genesis’ moniker for its facial recognition setup. Place the keys in the car, start it up, and open the “setup” menu and choose “user profile.” From there, establish a password and choose “set facial recognition.” The car will prompt you to leave the car running and step out of it, leaving the door open. Gaze into the white circle until the animation stops and turns green, and the GV60 will play an audio prompt: “facial recognition set.” The system is intuitive, and I found that I could set it up the first time on my own just through the prompts. If you don’t get it right, the GV60 will let you know and the camera light will turn from white to red.

After the image, the GV60 needs your fingerprint. Basically, you’ll go through the same setup process, instead choosing “fingerprint identification” and the car will issue instructions. It will ask for several placements of your index finger inside the vehicle (the fingerprint area is a small circle between the volume and tuning roller buttons) to create a full profile.

Genesis GV60 facial recognition camera
The camera on the exterior of the Genesis GV60. Genesis

In tandem, these two biometrics (facial recognition and fingerprint) work together to first unlock and then start the car. Upon approach, touch the door handle and place your face near the camera and it will unlock; you can even leave the key in the car and lock it with this setup. I found it to be very easy to set up, and it registered my face on the first try. The only thing I forgot the first couple of times was that I first had to touch the door handle and then scan my face. I could see this being a terrific way to park and take a jog around the park or hit the beach without having to worry about how to secure a physical key. 

Interestingly, to delete a profile the car requires just one smart key instead of two.

Not everyone is a fan of this type of technology in general because of privacy concerns related to biometrics; Genesis says no biometric data is uploaded to the cloud, but is stored securely and heavily encrypted in the vehicle itself. If it is your cup of tea and you like the option to leave the physical keys behind, this is a unique way of getting into your car.