Automotive

2017 BMW 7 Series: No Touching Please!

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Perhaps this is a game of one-upmanship between the two German luxury automakers. In response to the lavish interior previewed in the upcoming Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW is setting the stage for a concept interior to be showcased in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January that will feature an infotainment system that operates purely on hand gestures.

The technology was teased in the previous CES; this time it would get a more comprehensive reveal when BMW exhibits its Vision Car that operates using what is called Airtouch technology.

Instead of detecting touch, which is so yesterday, there are 3D sensors built into the instrument panel that scans driver hand movement that allow for interacting with the system to control the menu and its concomitant functions. This isn’t too revolutionary; it is technology that can be found in Smart TVs and gaming console cameras, but it is still cool that cars will soon have it.

Of course getting the hang of gesticulations mid-drive that isn’t cursing or flipping off other drivers is something that may be uncomfortable for some, so there will still be buttons on the steering wheel to control the vehicle’s infotainment system. We’ll get more details in January.