Ever raised a middle finger in rage at your car's reluctance to do your bidding? Well in the future such actions could be the default way of controlling your vehicle. How very continental.
Infotainment experts Harman have cooked up the gesture and face-recognition system to interpret your nods, winks and general flailing as prompts to execute commands. Want to turn the radio on and off? Just give the stereo a cheeky wink. Want to crank the volume on the latest Kanye West track? Just tilt your head to the left or right to increase or decrease the noise levels. A tap on the steering wheel skips to the next song or station.
Harman lets you raise and lower the air conditioning and heating levels by raising or lowering your hand above the gear knob. Best of all, you can even place calls by making a 'lifting the receiver' gesture with your hand, then saying the name of the person you wish to speak to.
The system uses a dashboard-mounted infra-red sensor that is trained on the driver. This watches for pre-defined expressions, blinks and gestures and passes the data to an onboard computer, which activates relevant features when required. Harman say the system's clever enough to tell the difference between involuntary motions and deliberate ones, though the proof will surely be in the proverbial pudding.
"It’s all about reducing distractions in the car," said Hans Roth, director of technology at Harman. "These basic gestures are being testing around the globe to find the ideal system that can be used in countries around the world.
"We’ve started it and now it's about choosing the right gestures and getting it to production. You’ve got to make sure it’s culturally acceptable. In Italy for example drivers use hand gestures a lot when they drive so it needs finalising."
Harman reckons the system could be available in two to three years. Would you use such a system or do you prefer good old fashioned buttons and hitting things with your fist? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.