BMW Vision Car Concept Will Show Future of Touchscreens at CES 2016

BMW Vision Car Concept Will Show Future of Touchscreens at CES 2016 1 photo
Photo: BMW
BMW will show a new concept car at CES 2016. As expected of an exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Vision Car Concept is focused on a new kind of infotainment interface.
BMW’s new concept car features several new technologies, but the one that stands out through its description is the AirTouch system. While it sounds like something developed by Apple (that’s the 3D Touch), the AirTouch refers to a new way to operate a touchscreen interface. Specifically, the new tech allows the user to operate a touchscreen without actually touching it. This means goodbye to those nasty grease marks on the screen and, possibly, a way to make such a technology safer in cars.

The AirTouch system will recognize gestures made in front of the multimedia interface screen. Naturally, the system bears some similarities to the new 7 Series’ Gesture Control, but the added bonus is that the latest development also works with three-dimensional gestures. So, instead of just left-right movements and up-down movements, the system will also understand forward-backward movement.

Furthermore, the new proposed interface will work both for the driver and the front passenger. This development means that neither has to touch the screen to get things done. The new technology will operate using a variety of sensors implemented in the dash and in other areas.

Those sensors will monitor all hand movements that occur between the center console and the central rearview mirror. In theory, the driver could learn to operate the new system without looking at the infotainment screen. Just to be on the safe side, the AirTouch system will feature confirmation buttons for the driver and the front passenger, so you don’t end up cancelling your navigation route just before a busy junction.

For now, BMW’s AirTouch is just a proof of concept and will take some time until it reaches production. But when it does, it could be the next big thing for touchscreens and multimedia interfaces in cars. Like other premium manufacturers, BMW has focused on a physical interface for its multimedia systems (in this case, the iDrive) that allows a rather eyes-free operation once you get the hang of it. Some voices argue that such an approach is safer than having to look at a screen and touch specific points on it while driving.

How Apple’s 3D Touch works on the iPhone
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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