One example of the new technologies found in the vehicle is Air Touch. This feature will let you control entertainment, navigation and communication functions using simple gestures made with a flat hand.
AirTouch allows the display in a vehicle to be operated like a touchscreen without actually having to make contact with the surface. Sensors record the hand movements in the area between the central console and the interior mirror. This enables drivers or passengers to change the focus on the surface of the large panorama display. Simple confirmation selects the relevant menu item or activates an icon.
The feature is an enhancement of BMW Gesture Control in the new BMW 7 Series. Sensors are installed in the area of the instrument dashboard which respond to hand movements and allow for three-dimensional control. A movement of the hand or a gesture activates the surfaces on the large panorama display.
To confirm an action there is a concealed AirTouch button on the rim of the steering wheel. It is on the left and easy to reach with the thumb, and it lights up when a menu or icon can be activated. One tap is sufficient to activate the desired program or change a setting. The passenger also has a button like this positioned on the side sill in the door area. Passengers are therefore able to use one hand to navigate through the menu and the other hand to confirm inputs very quickly.
"The intelligent AirTouch menu control reduces the number of steps needed to make a selection. For example, when activating the phone pad, the system automatically brings up contacts or call lists to the top select level so that a call can be made with just one further action. AirTouch recognises which selection and control steps are required next and displays them in advance. This allows the driver to focus all their concentration on the road ahead or offers additional convenient control options when the vehicle is travelling in highly automated mode."
The introduction of new technologies to the car is becoming increasingly important. Apple is rumored to have taken notice and begun a stealth car project of its own. The electric car project is said to have reached 'committed' status with a target ship date of 2019.
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