At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year BMW showed off a new concept of gesture control technology which later saw the light of day in the new 7 Series. In the coming CES the company is going to bring yet another Vision Car, a concept which will demonstrate “what the interior and the user interface of the future might look like.” This time around it’s going to show off the contactless touchscreen experience with AirTouch at CES 2016 next month.
The current 7 Series only supports a handful of gesture control features like turning the volume up or down. BMW is raising the bar with AirTouch as it says the new system will enable the touchscreen display in its car to be operated like a touchscreen “without actually having to make contact with the surface.”
Sensors inside the car will record hand movements in the area between the center console and interior mirror, allowing drivers or passengers to change the focus on the surface of the large panorama display. Once they have arrived on the on-screen item to be selected, drivers can perform a simple confirmation by pressing a button on the steering wheel or passengers by pressing a button on the door.
The intelligent AirTouch menu will also reduce the number of steps required to make a selection, it will recognize which selection and control steps are needed and will display them in advance. The ultimate aim with these systems is to reduce distraction for the driver so that they can focus on the road while still being able to access all of the features that the onboard infotainment system offers.
BMW hasn’t revealed which of its cars will be the first to receive AirTouch when it’s deemed ready for deployment, if history is any indication we’ll probably first see it arrive in one of the company’s high-end cars before it trickles down to other models.