Everyone who had a chance to drive an old car and a modern one will agree that car interiors came a long way in the last 20 years. Formerly they were full of nasty hard plastics and flimsy switches, but now cars are equipped with large screens, high-quality leather and many comfort functions. Now BMW is preparing to showcase its interior of the future at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2016.
There is evident trend in modern cars and new concepts. Cars are connected to the driver through many technologies that are meant to make driving as easy and comfortable as possible. Cars are taking more and more responsibility for a safe journey and innovative technologies are the tool to achieve the highest possible safety. BMW is participating in this trend trying to advance networking between driver, car and environment. One of the most interesting examples of these attempts is new AirTouch screen. It is an innovative solution to allow for more intuitive control of entertainment, navigation and communication functions.
AirTouch allows controlling main car functions by simple gestures of a flat hand. In other words, it is a touchscreen that you do not have to touch. This technology is made possible by special sensors that record movements of a hand in the area between the screen and interior mirror. Both driver and front passenger can use the impressive AirTouch abilities. However, it is not the first BMW take on gesture control.
BMW already presented the new gesture control at the CES last year. It allowed users to control some of the car’s functions (like adjusting the loudness or accepting phone calls) by simple gestures in front of the screen. The new BMW 7-series is equipped with this technology and customers are undoubtedly happy with its provided comfort. However, the new AirTouch is another leap forward.
In this system three-dimensional control is possible because of sensors installed in the area of the instrument dashboard. AirTouch also has a function of confirming an action through a button on the rim of the steering wheel. Although it is hidden most of the time, it lights up when a menu or icon can be activated. Because AirTouch can be used by both driver and the passenger, there is a similar button on passenger door.
You may wonder, what is the point of gesture control? BMW says it reduces the number of steps needed to make a selection. Controls are more intuitive and easier, which allows the driver to focus on driving. While on the move, touchscreens may be hard to use – even harder than physical buttons. With gesture control only simple movements in the area in front of the screen are enough, which should improve safety. This is only one of innovation BMW is going to present next year and it is clear that soon they will make their way to mass-produces vehicles.