At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which starts today, the BMW Group is presenting a Vision Car to demonstrate what the future holds for interaction possibilities between the driver, the car and environment.
One of such technologies is presented by AirTouch, the display that is able to recognize hand movements and respond to them accordingly. It is operated like a touchscreen, but the driver doesn't have to actually make any physical contact with the surface. Sensors are installed in the area between the central console and the interior mirror and record the hand movements. They respond to simple gestures made by the driver's hand here and enable three-dimensional control. Therefore, the driver and the passenger sitting next to him can focus on the large panorama display, selecting menus and confirming actions by simple hand movements.
BMW presented the new BMW Gesture Control already at last year's CES. Drivers of BMW 7 Series can use finger movements to activate simple actions, for example adjusting the loudness or accepting phone calls. BMW AirTouch, however, represents a step forward from Gesture Control, as a movement of the hand or a gesture activates the surfaces on the large panorama display and enables activation of more complex commands. The intelligent AirTouch menu control is highly important and makes a huge difference, as it reduces the number of steps required to make a selection, making everyhting more simple and quicker. Should the system ever fail, the driver can always rely on a concealed AirTouch button that is located on the rim of the steering wheel or another one on the side sill in the door area, which is intended for the passenger. Hence, both the driver and the passenger are able to activate a program or change settings in a more conventional way as well.