NEXT-GEN INTERIOR: BMW has taken in-car entertainment (ICE) a step further with its AirTouch technology set to debut in 2016. Image: BMW
Munich, Germany - At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (6 to 9 January) in Las Vegas, BMW is presenting a Vision Car to demonstrate what the interior and the user interface of the future might look like.
One particular example in networked vehicles is provided by AirTouch. This feature controls the entertainment, satnav and communication functions using simple gestures made by the driver's hand.
AirTouch allows the display in a vehicle to be operated like a touchscreen without actually having to make contact with the surface.
How it works
Sensors record hand movements in the area between the central console and the interior mirror. This enables drivers or passengers to change the focus on the surface of the panoramic display.
3D control of your dashboard
In 2015, BMW presented its new gesture control at the CES. This enables simple movements of a finger to carry out actions such as adjusting the loudness or answering phone calls. Meanwhile, this technology is available as BMW Gesture Control in the new BMW 7 Series (We're driving the new 7 Series in South Africa in January 2016, Ed).
BMW says AirTouch is taking another leap forward, with sensors installed in the area of the instrument dashboard which respond to hand movements here and therefore permit three-dimensional control.
AirTouch has another option to confirm an action. A concealed AirTouch button is located along the rim of the steering wheel.
Located on the left and easy to reach with the thumb, and it lights up when a menu or icon can be activated.
One press is sufficient to activate the desired program or change a setting. The passenger also has a similar button positioned along the side-sill. Passengers can use one hand to navigate through the menu and the other to confirm inputs.
Activates phone pad
The intelligent AirTouch menu control reduces the number of steps needed to make a selection. For example, when activating the phone pad, the system automatically brings up contacts or call lists so that a call can be made with one action.
AirTouch recognises which selection and control steps are required next and displays them in advance. BMW says this allows the driver to focus all their concentration on the road ahead or offers additional convenient control options when the vehicle is travelling in highly automated mode.