Hands on video of gesture controls (BMW, VW, Visteon) & IHS predictions

visteonsemprenovusAUTO Connected Car News’ video shows how gesture technology will be used in cars of the future at CES.

We find it interesting that the American automotive supplier Visteon uses a imaginary knob twist to turn up the volume or temperature while German engineers at BMW chose to use a finger twirling in the air for a volume knob.

We were wondering how soon we can expect gesture technology in autos also what are the different types of gesture controls. We contacted  Mark C. Boyadjis, Senior Analyst & Manager for Infotainment & HMI at IHS who divides gesture recognition into three basic categories and then predicts numbers in ease category.

Proximity Keeps it Simple

The simplest level is “Proximity Recognition” in which the system notices the presence of a hand or object like the movement or placement of the hand but with no contextual understanding. This type of system uses basic IR sensors. Proximity sensors are already in production in Cadillac CUE and Volkswagen Golf VII.

The Basics

The next level up is “Basic Gesture Recognition.” This type includes whole hand gestures, like a swipe left, right, up, or down. This could use just IR sensors, or an array of IR sensor plus camera sensor. The first production system will launch later this year on 2016 BMW 7-Series.

Advanced Gestures

The next level up is “Advanced Gesture Recognition” This level can differentiate between one finger, two finger, three finger swipes, and more. This kind of gesture recognition requires at least 2 sensors such as camera sensors for best accuracy.

IHS Numbers For Gesture Control by Category

  • IHS Global Automotive Forecast for Proximity recognition is 3.8M unit sales in 2015 and more than 18M unit sales in 2021.
  • IHS Global Automotive Forecast for “Basic Gesture Recognition” is 22K unit sales in 2015 4.3M unit sales in 2021.
  • IHS estimates the first production system will launch in late 2017 or early 2018 with “Advanced Gesture Recognition.” IHS Global Automotive Forecast is 2.1M unit sales in 2021.

Boyadjis, notes that consumer adoption will require user learning, which could take some time. Early systems will be the test beds for the development of gesture recognition platforms. Certain suppliers have studied gesture controls, and consumers who have been trained on how gesture works, quick adopt the technology and prefer it to lengthy menus or touch screen interactions, for certain functions.

The most advanced gesture technology we saw was the Visteon Sempre Novus that uses eye gestures along with hand gestures which will not be available until there are autonomous cars.

The closest concept to be deployed shown in the video is BMW BMW iDrive. The  Volkswagen Golf R Touch is a concept vehicle and Visteon’s Semper Novus cockpit may be many years away.

Automakers see gesture technology as a way to make using media safer in the future.