BMW has innovated this year with the introduction of a gesture control system. This brand-new technology first appeared on the 7 Series and is now available as an option in the 5 Series.
What is gesture control technology? Basically, it means you can control certain functions of the infotainment system (navigation, volume, channel) by simply making a hand gesture in front of the multimedia screen.
How does it work? First, a small overhead camera scans what happens between the armrest and the multimedia system touchscreen. When you make one of the specific gestures that the interface recognizes, the camera relays that information to the entertainment system, which takes the corresponding action. For now, there are five functions offered, one of which can be personalized—like changing radio stations, for example. You can circle your finger to increase and decrease volume, point to accept a call, and swipe from left to right to reject a call. It’s like being in the movie Minority Report!
The idea behind this system is to minimize distractions while driving and reduce the amount of driver attention required to control common functions. In the 5 Series, you can control the radio in various ways: via the steering wheel, the control knob, the touchscreen, voice recognition and now, the gesture control system. Drivers have never been so in sync with their vehicles.
Needless to say, the system will continue to improve over time. For now, some functions are more difficult to perform, especially finding the right volume without going too high or too low.
We’ve come a long way since the days of car radios with eight buttons!