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Future lab: BMW Gesture Control and BMW Touch Command

A new series in BMW Magazine Digital is dedicated to BMW technologies that may appear futuristic but are already, or soon will be, in production. In this issue: BMW Gesture Control and BMW Touch Command - two systems that significantly extend the scope of operation of the iDrive system in the all-new BMW 7 Series.

Illustration
Toby Neilan
Words
Hendrik Lakeberg und Michael Seitz
Photo
Simon Puschmann

In the gripping thriller Minority Report, Tom Cruise stands in front of a wall of three-dimensional screens, moving data, maps, photos and videos back and forth with hand and arm gestures. The aim of his special unit is to solve crimes that have yet to take place. Steven Spielberg’s visionary movie bristled with inspired ideas of futuristic technologies, and these touchless, gesture-controlled screens were among its most enduring images. Shortly after its release, newspapers and blogs debated whether the mouse, trackpad and even touchscreen would become redundant in real life, too, with computers controlled purely by hand movements in the air.

BMW Gesture Control, standard in the all-new BMW 7 Series, allows the driver to operate selected BMW iDrive functions through hand gestures, such as a rotating finger or a swiping motion.

Accepting or rejecting phone calls and controlling the audio volume is simple, straightforward and intuitive, thanks to BMW Gesture Control. And that means less distraction for the driver.

That time has come. What was once a future fantasy is now turning into reality: BMW has introduced Gesture Control to operate its infotainment system in the all-new BMW 7 Series. It allows the driver to use gestures, such as a rotating finger or a swiping motion, to control selected BMW iDrive functions. The gestures are detected by a camera in the roofliner above the screen. Accepting or rejecting phone calls and controlling the audio volume is simple, straightforward and intuitive – which means less distraction and improved traffic safety. The control display in the all-new BMW 7 Series can also be operated by touch, opening up a fourth control option, in addition to the established iDrive Controller, BMW Gesture Control and Voice command.

Optional BMW Touch Command introduces another interface into the car: a tablet that allows rear-seat passengers to control the main functions of the iDrive system.

Optional BMW Touch Command introduces another interface into the car: a tablet that allows rear-seat passengers to control the main functions of the iDrive system.

A further digital innovation is BMW Touch Command. A tablet, integrated in the center armrest between the rear seats of the all-new BMW 7 Series, automatically connects to the iDrive system. Passengers can remove it for comfortable handheld use and – via a specially developed BMW app – operate the rear seats’ massage functions, set the lighting ambience, and control the extensive entertainment functions, among other amenities. Once replaced in its secure bracket, the tablet is recharged by means of a snap-in adapter.

BMW Gesture Control and Touch Command make their debut in the all-new BMW 7 Series, and it’s a sign that Hollywood writers and directors need to redouble their efforts to remain one step ahead in the realm of visionary technology. The present is increasingly narrowing the gap to future visions – not least in the shape of technological innovations from BMW.

11/18/15