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Iris-scanning technology working to prevent car thefts


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NEW YORK (NBC News) — Every 45 seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the United States.

The crime is actually becoming less frequent, and now iris scanning technology is looking to keep even more cars from being stolen.

"Unfortunately for the driver who wants to bend the rules, there's no way around it. You're gonna get in, you're gonna authenticate it, and if you're not the right guy, you're not starting that vehicle," said Tom Malone, president of Voxx Electronics.

EyeLock, Inc., which is based in New York, has developed small infrared cameras and technology that scan the irises of your eyes. Because they'll match the iris scans you put into the car, you'll be able to start it up and drive away.

The odds of a car thief or someone else having irises that match yours? One in several trillion.

So only you, or someone else already scanned into the car's memory, will be the driver.

"It's gonna be used to authenticate the ignition so the wrong person can't start your car and steal it. It's going to be used to tie into telematics so that insurance premiums can be rated on a driver-by-driver basis, not just when a car is in motion," said Tony Antolino, chief marketing and business development officer at EyeLock.

Eye monitoring is the next wave of making our vehicles smarter, keeping drivers eyes on the road; or in the case of trucking and delivery firms, making sure the right driver is behind the wheel.

Insurance companies are interested in the possibilities; so are other industries. EyeLock is talking with jet makers about putting its technology in cockpits, and with airports about using iris scans at security checkpoints.

"You look at an iris camera, it recognizes you, and you can move very, very quickly through the airport because you are a trusted traveler," Antolino said.

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Phil LeBeau, NBC News

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