BMW Teases Its Concept Car For CES 2016
In all reality, it’s looking like our concept of future cars is getting close to becoming the current offering from some auto manufacturers. Huge steps in the evolution of technology over the last five years has literally changed the game when it comes to driving cars. We don’t really have the flying cars yet, but we’re about a hop, skip, and jump away from having fully autonomous cars. That has been a major topic recently – autonomous cars or cars with autonomous capabilities. In the shadow of all these strides in autonomous technology is the technology we use every day inside our cars, and if BMW’s vision of the future is any indication, that is about to get less “hands-on” too.
In anticipation of the Consumer Electronics Show on January 6th, BMW has released an announcement and teaser image of its newest Vision car that showcases what the interior of a car and the interface with the driver might look like. Some of the details will seem familiar, as BMW already has gesture control in the BMW 7-Series, but the next level of interaction technology is about to unfold before our eyes. BMW calls it AirTouch, and sensors located on the dashboard of the Vision Car will provide the ability of 3D control.
So what does 3D control really mean? That’s a good question. Basically, drivers will be able to interact with the touch screen displays inside the vehicle without actually touching them. It works by recording and recognizing movements made with a flat hand between the center console and rear view mirror. According to BMW’s press release, we will be able to control navigation, communication and entertainment functions by simply moving our hands. In addition to that, the driver also has two dedicated buttons that allow menus and options to be selected without taking eyes off the road. Unfortunately, we can’t see much from the teaser image, outside of two display screens and a partial steering wheel, but if AirTouch works as good as the interior looks, we’re going to see some pretty cool demonstrations at CES.
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Why it matters
I’ll come right out and say it – I am a big fan of technology and what it can do for society as a whole. I think this concept is going to be a cool one, but I’m not sure how far gesture control will really go. As a society, we can be lazy, and using hand gestures isn’t exactly autonomous. Gesture control, as BMW describes it, does sound like a cool stride in technology development, but I think it might be quickly overshadowed by the adaptation and development of artificial intelligence and voice command.
I see voice commands being the primary way of controlling computer systems and technology in the future, with gesture or touch control left for complex tasks. Either way, I really like the look of the dash, center console, and steering wheel we see in the teaser image. It might not be for everybody – those stuck in the past maybe – but it certainly is for me. What is your take on gesture control as BMW will present it next year?