Physical buttons are too old-fashioned according to BMW.
Car manufacturers often have grand ideas when it comes to envisioning the future. According to an official blog, BMW's next technological innovation will be interior holographic touchscreen technology, a concept that will be shown off at next month's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. BMW calls this technology the HoloActive Touch, and describes the system as "a virtual touchscreen," with a free-floating display that responds to finger gestures.
It's believed that drivers will perceive this as tactile feedback. BMW say the technology will essentially be an amalgamation of a head-up display, its own gesture controls and a traditional touchscreen. Traditionalists who dislike touchscreens on smartphones probably aren't going to be on-board with BMW's ambitious vision, then. The virtual display will work as a projection that appears to the right of the steering wheel above the center console, using reflections from existing HUDs to create the illusion. What practical uses will this have, you may ask? Well, it would allow the driver to conveniently control various functions and those all-important BMW Connected apps.
"For the first time, the functions can be controlled without any physical contact with materials. But the technology still enables the visible and tangible driver-vehicle interaction familiar from conventional touchscreens," BMW said. Essentially, it builds on the Air Touch gesture control technology that was demonstrated at last year's CES in an i8 roadster, but you still needed to press a physical button to confirm. How long it will take before HoloActive Touch makes it to market remains to be seen, but BMW pointed out that the gesture controls in the current 7-series and 5-series debuted at CES as a concept two years ago. Should this type of technology be kept in science fiction movies?