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Google planning gesture-controlled car

Google has started working on an in-car system that will let you control a variety of in-car functions using hand gestures. The internet giant wants to let users control their air-conditioning, open and close windows, indicate, open the sunroof, operate the windscreen wipers and even adjust their cruise control speed without having to physically touch a thing.

Patent applications published by Google have revealed a number of potential gestures including a swipe to operate the windows, a twist to adjust the air-conditioning and a flick of the fingers to get wipers going.

“While a user is manoeuvring a vehicle, the user may wish to perform a number of additional functions, such as navigating to a destination, changing the temperature in the vehicle, or changing the volume of music playing in the vehicle.

“The user may perform a gesture in a region of the vehicle. Example regions include a steering wheel, an air-conditioning vent and an ear of the user,” a patent explained.

A number of 3D cameras located in the dashboard of the car will be used to recognise your movements. The system is purportedly sensitive enough to, for example, wind down a person’s window to a specific point depending on the length of their swipe. 

Critics could argue flailing your arms around while driving could be more bothersome and distracting than, say, moving a stalk on the steering wheel. However if the system was intuitive enough then it may ultimately improve safety and convenience. Just imagine — it could even sound the horn automatically if you raised your middle finger. 

Hand gestures may seem like the preserve of Hollywood movies such as Minority Report but gesture-based technology is becoming increasingly prevalent. The Xbox Kinect has been letting people swipe and flail for some time. Meanwhile, in-car entertainment company Harman and car manufacturers Ford and Mercedes are also working on similar systems.

Check out Harman’s protype system in the video below. 

Have buttons had their day? Have your say.

Via: Telegraph

Image: Flickr

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