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BMW AirTouch to bring full gesture control to the car

BMW has announced that it will be demonstrating its new AirTouch technology at CES 2016, bringing gesture control to the car.

The German car manufacturer has unveiled AirTouch, a new in-car control system that “empowers intuitive control of entertainment, navigation and communication functions using simple gestures made with a flat hand.”

BMW already demonstrated a gesture control system of sorts at this year’s CES, and BMW Gesture Control was eventually rolled out in the latest BMW 7 Series. AirTouch promises to take things further.

Essentially, AirTouch enables a car’s console display to be operated like a touchscreen, but without any physical contact whatsoever.

Sensors within the car record hand movements in a specific area between the central console the rear-view mirror. BMW reckons that this enables “3D control,” though we’re not entirely sure how this is so.

While AirTouch appears to be completely contact-free, there’s also a physical confirmation button on the steering wheel, as well as one on the passenger side-sill, so both passenger and driver can use a faster two-handed system if they so wish.

See also: Self-driving car development hits major legislation snag

BMW has also paid attention to reducing the number of gestures required for any action. The AirTouch system will recognise which selections are likely to be required next and displays them in advance, allowing the driver to focus more on the road than the display.

We’ll be interested to see how AirTouch works when it’s demonstrated at CES 2016 early next month.

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