At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, BMW demonstrated gesture control that allowed users to adjust volume, access navigation and even answer a phone call without touching a single button – everything was controlled with in-air gestures. For the 2016 CES, BMW takes gesture control to the a whole other dimension with 3D gesture control call AirTouch.
This next-level gesture control allows users to control a large panoramic screen like a touchscreen – without actually touching the surface. In order to enable this touchless touchscreen control, BMW engineers installed additional sensors in the center console that read the 3 dimensional movements of the user’s hand.
If you’ve ever used BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, you know that there are many screens and options to dig through in order to get anything done. BMW says AirTouch should reduce the number of steps to carry out an action. A gesture to use the phone doesn’t bring up a general phone menu, but a contacts or recent-calls list, which is what the user most likely wants to access. BMW calls it “a big leap forward.” AirTouch add physical confirmation buttons on the inside of the steering wheel.
AirTouch is meant for use in BMW’s future self-driving cars and will allow you to do things like search maps and browse videos when in autonomous mode. These gesture control features do more than look cool or distinguish BMW from the rest of its tech-savvy competitors. The idea behind these hi-tech systems is to limit driver distraction, enabling you to access and control all your modern in-car infotainment needs without ever having to turn your attention away from the road ahead.