MATS 2002: Kenworth's vision of trucking security -- biometric authentication

| 3/26/2002

Kenworth Truck Company displayed a new Kenworth T800 High-Tech Truck last week at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. The Kenworth high-tech concept vehicle features a key security item -- biometric authentication, or fingerprint identification.

Here's how the company says such new technology may be deployed on the highways to help truck fleets in the area of security: When a truck fleet hires a new driver, biometric information in the form of fingerprints is captured during enrollment and translated into a digital template and stored for subsequent authentication. This information is uploaded via a wireless link to the vehicle the driver is authorized to use by the fleet.

Once behind the wheel, the driver inserts a finger into the sensor mounted into the dash panel. If it matches an "enrolled" fingerprint stored on the Kenworth Vehicle Information Center, or VIC, an encrypted authorization approval is sent to the engine controller. The ignition system then is enabled to start the vehicle. Without this electronic authorization, the engine's horsepower will be severely restricted to prevent the vehicle from being operated at normal traffic speeds. The system, however, will still allow the vehicle to be moved a short distance in event of an emergency.

In addition, all attempts by an unauthorized user to fully enable the engine system will generate an alert message sent via wireless communications back to the fleet's dispatcher.