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Car and Driver: BMW’s Vision Future Interaction: It Reads Your Hand

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The current BMW 7-series is the first vehicle on the market that allows you to control some functions with gestures. With a prototype to be unveiled at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, that technology takes a big step forward. Whereas the 7-series can recognize movements of a finger—at least most of the time—to change the stereo volume and to accept or reject calls, the technology to be shown at CES reads movements of your entire hand. The system can be used to operate the infotainment and telematics systems.

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BMW says the technology can be used like a touch screen—without ever actually touching a physical object. Several sensors positioned between the center console and the rearview mirror monitor your hand’s movements. Both the driver and the passenger get a specific button that can be used to validate choices made by hand movement. The driver’s button is placed on the steering wheel, so one hand can remain on the wheel.

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Called “Air Touch,” the technology will be shown in a concept vehicle. The teaser shot shows a large screen in front of the passenger, visible to both the driver and passenger, and an illuminated steering wheel. We’ll have to wait until next month to see more.

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