IT’S always good to improve one’s literacy and a new word to learn is ‘capacitance’ – because it’s likely to feature on many cars in the future.

It means ‘the ability of a system to store an electric charge’ as Chinese buyers of new Hyundai Santa Fes will discover when they try to start up their new SUV.

Hyundai showed its Santa Fe at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition last week, highlighting innovative fingerprint-scanning technology to unlock and start it.

The Korea Herald said the addition of the futuristic system was an effort to change perceptions of the brand in China where Hyundai was struggling to get a bigger slice of the sales pie in the world’s largest vehicle market against a plethora of Chinese and European brands.

Hyundai reckons the system has a 1 in 50,000 chance of failure as it relies on human capacitance for clean reads of a fingerprint.

The scanner reads electricity levels in other parts of the finger to ensure success and prevent forgery.

However, the move is seen as a risky one for the Korean giant.

It works fine on some computers and mobile phones, but other  manufacturers have walked away from installing similar technology on door handles.

That’s because the technology needs to work flawlessly in all weather conditions.

The scanner must prove successful on hot or cold days, rain or shine, and such concerns have put fingerprint scanning technology on the backburner for most other carmakers.

But Hyundai is not shy of innovation  and it looks as if it will become the first brand to offer the technology.

When a driver scans their fingerprint to enter the car, the 2019 Santa Fe will automatically configure some settings to the driver.

The crossover will adjust the driver’s seat position and exterior mirrors, for example, when it identifies a registered user.

Probably not a good idea to pick your nose before trying to fire up a Santa Fe in China. It will for sure have some effect on your capacitance.

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fingerprint - hyundai santa fe 1 - Picky tech snot foolproof


Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.