BMW is moving one step ahead into the future. With the introduction of gesture controls in some of its cars, BMW has shown it is unafraid of turning sci-fi into reality. Now, the automobile maker will take special pride in introducing a holographic touchscreen on January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The completely virtual touchscreen, called the HoloActive Touch system, requires no contact with the actual car's surface. It combines a heads-up display (creating a display image through the use of reflections), gesture control, and direct touchscreen operations.
What the driver achieves with this combination is information like music and navigation that seems to "float in the air," according to Fortune. Motorists can use finger gestures to do something with the information, like pushing a virtual button that sends haptic feedback, making drivers feel like they are actually touching it. The holographic touchscreen system will display visible "floating" control pads next to the steering wheel.
A camera, meanwhile, detects the driver's hand movements and registers the position of their fingertips, according to BMW. Once a fingertip makes contact with the virtual control surface, a pulse is emitted to let the user know that the input was received.
No word was has come about when this technology will enter production, but that does not mean it won't eventually end up in a BMW. According to Motortrend, BMW's gesture control technology, which was introduced at the 2015 CES show, is now available in the new BMW 7 Series and the new BMW 5 Series models.
While BMW may have been a step ahead in pursuing the realization of automobile fantasies with its holographic touchscreen system concept, it is not the first automaker envision it. Lexus introduced the UX concept, which featured a transparent holographic-style globe in the center console for climate and infotainment information. Porsche introduced the Mission E Concept with a holographic display, and Mercedes also gave a preview of how holograms could be utilized on an autonomous vehicle.