We think of gestures in the context of smartphones, tablets and even smartwatches. But in the race to create a more intuitive in-dash experience, automakers are now considering gestures for drivers. Companies such as Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and BMW all are planning some form of gesture controls for future vehicles, and the company supplying the 3D spacial recognition tech believes you could be gesturing on your commute as early as next year. That will make for some awkward driving.
Rather than fiddling with buttons or knobs, automakers are trying to find ways to ensure your hands are on the wheel at all times, free from distractions. Some of today’s biggest mobile companies are already committed to the future of in-dash infotainment, though these car companies seemingly want to look even beyond that near-hands-free experience. Now you’ll turn off the radio with the same movement you use to swat a fly.
A report from Automotive News says these gesture-based systems will be in cars next year, though it’s unclear which automaker will be first to market. Both Audi and Mercedes have shown off prototypes before, so the two may be at the most advanced stages. Hyundai has also shown off its own interpretation of how this might work, and people were generally impressed.
These systems are all being designed to combat distracted driving, because when we’re not texting and driving, we’re compelled to push buttons and turn knobs. It’s an innate mortal affliction that cannot be cured. Jalopnik speculates that Audi and BMW could be among the first to introduce these systems, which have been in development for years now. Will that even be something consumers use, though? Why actually turn a button when you can simulate the action? Seems much less distracting, right? Maybe not so much.