Imagine if you were able to sit in your car and operate the like of your audio system, phone and even your temperature controls with just a wave of your hand or by raising an eyebrow. This is the kind of technology that is being worked on right now, and despite it sounding like something you see regularly is science fiction shows and films, it could be coming to a car near you sooner that you would have imagined.
Experts in the field of consumer electronics believe that this is the next natural step to take following the likes of voice commands, touch screens and central control switches. Last January saw the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, and it was here that Mercedes-Benz showcased their experimental system with they called DICE, short for Dynamic and Intuitive Control Experience, which let drivers use hand gestures to perform basic functions.
As well as Mercedes-Benz Harman, who own such brands as Infinitely, Harman Kardon, Mark Levison and JBL, are also currently working on integrating the recognition of hand gestures into their future ‘infotainment’ systems. Harman have said that they are building up a catalogue of gestures that are based on the studies they have run into human behaviour.
Hans Roth, Harman’s director of technology, marketing and business development, has said that the gestures need to be both easily recognises and intuitive and must be differentiated by sensors. He added that anything that smacked of driver distraction would have to be avoided otherwise users could be liable for prosecution and the gestures would have to be akin to those that people already made when operating their cars electronic features.
Roth is a firm believer that infra-red sensors are the best solution for card, and that their optimum position would be somewhere near the gear stick so they only cover a small area as this would prevent others in the car accidentally triggering them off as well as the driver should he scratch his ear etc.