Car Gesture Controls to Take Off in Next Decade


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Touch screens are finally making their way into car dashboards in a big way. Luxury cars such as the Tesla Model S now have entire entertainment and navigation systems running entirely off of what are essentially dashboard tablets. However, as technology continues to evolve, some market watchers are expecting that soon drivers will not have to touch anything at all to tune their radios.

Market research firm IHS today released a new report showing that the market for gesture and proximity recognition systems for vehicles will take off in the next 10 years. The firm predicts that more than 38 million of such systems will ship in 2023, being found in around 40% of vehicles sold that year. That's far more than the 700,000 systems that are expected to sell this year. The firm also predicts that the first "high-resolution" gesture recognition systems will show up starting in 2017.

“The gesture is a natural method of human communication, one that is used subconsciously in everyday interpersonal communications,” said Mark Boyadjis, senior analyst for automotive infotainment at IHS. “Because of this, gestures can be used in control automotive infotainment functions ranging from navigation to satellite radio with minimum driver distraction. This, and other factors, will cause sales of proximity sensing and gesture recognition systems in cars to undergo a rapid expansion in the coming years.”

The gesture recognition and proximity sensor systems IHS is referring to use cameras and sensors to detect user input without the need for a touch panel, knobs, or buttons. Examples include waving to tune a radio or mimicking a dial to turn volume up or down. Cadillac and Volkswagen already offer primitive proximity recognition in some of their vehicles. With driverless car technology also developing a a fast pace, drivers could soon be riding along highways, flailing their arms around without a care in the world.