Cars to Feature Air Gestures Soon. Isn’t that a Bit of Overkill?

SoftKinetic gesture recognition 1 photo
Photo: SoftKinetic
Although this seems to be more safely to use than pushing buttons or touching a screen while driving, science really wants to make everything awkward. As talking to yourself in the car (i.e. voice control) was not embarrassing enough, soon you’ll be able to gesture around like some caged monkey at the zoo just to raise the music volume.
The we.CONECT Car HMI Concepts & Systems conference held last week in Berlin featured among others SoftKinetic’s new gesture-recognition technology, which according to Automotive News, might find its way into vehicles as soon as next year.

SoftKinetic refused to reveal which automaker will be the first to implement their technology, but instead they did a demo for the people there to understand how it works.

Basically, most buttons and knobs can be ditched while a center-dash mounted 3D sensor will be able to recognize the driver’s hand gestures every time he would like to input a command, even in the dark.

To have an idea about what you’re doing, a menu will appear on the head-up display (in the video they are using a TV) and depending on your hand motion, you can navigate, control the air conditioning, radio and even navigation, all without even taking a glance at the dashboard.

The hand signs and movements are said to require just a few minutes of practice to accommodate with and SoftKinetic guarantees that touching buttons ever again will feel like the Dark Ages compared to their system.

Younger possible clients who already have a smart TV at home or played with the Playstation Move/Xbox Kinect might really enjoy this feature, but we’re not so sure about how those born in the oldschool analog era will react to having a plain dashboard and being obliged to perform “magic tricks” in front of a square in order to switch the radio channel.

Now, we’re not necessarily trying to suggest that the gesture control system is just a fancy useless feature made to take your money, but it’s raising some questions you simply can’t ignore.

Why are there so many distracting features fitted in a car if you need to back them up with more features made to keep you away from interacting with them anyway?

If automakers want to make cheaper cars for the masses, how can they ignore muscle memory? It’s not like your dash will change daily, those buttons and knobs that control simple functions like changing the radio station and putting the temperature up or down a bit are the same. On a manual transmission, you change gears without looking at the shifter - you absolutely can press a button on the dash without looking at it if you know its position.

And that’s about all you need to do as a driver besides keeping your eyes on the road; you set the navigation before leaving and you don’t fiddle with it around while driving. You don’t need Facestalk, Mytweet and other retarded stuff like that while you drive. You’re moving a 1.5 ton pile of metal for God sake, and you need to assume some responsibility.

If you can’t live without infotainment/phone apps and need special systems to maintain a car between the white lanes, please do the world a favor and take the bus.

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