BMW prepares for 2017 CES with HoloActive Touch Concept

Article by Christian A., on December 20, 2016

BMW hints on revealing a new hologram touchscreen concept for the upcoming 2017 CES (2017 Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. The new technology is supposed to be a combination of direct touchscreen operation, gesture control as well as the convenience of heads-up display. In January, BMW will be showcasing the HoloActive Touch system, which is made up of advanced interface for better connection between the vehicle and the driver.

This HoloActive works like a hologram touchscreen that floats freely and is controlled with the use of gesture control. The command is determined through the “tactile feedback” coming from the driver. The holographic display concept will come with BMW’s 5 Series and 7 Series’ latest technology.

As mentioned earlier, the system will have the classic direct touch screen control, gesture control and HUD. Simply put, its entire features can be controlled without the need for physical touch. The same technology lets the driver interact with the vehicle with the same advantage of using a traditional touch screen.

But how does it actually work without touching any surface? Well, BMW explained that the system is similar to the heads up display’s smart use of reflections. This time, the reflection is no longer projected to the windshield.

Instead, it comes in “free-floating form” and is visible along the interior. The innovative touch screen technology displays configurable controllers, which the driver can see within eye level as it appears close to the steering wheel. There is also one above the centre console. Since the technology uses a camera that keeps track of the driver’s hand gestures, it can also determine where the fingertips are positioned.

Once the virtual touch pad comes in contact with a fingertip, it emits a certain vibration that activates a corresponding control. BMW probably got this idea from their own “Air Touch technology”. If you can recall, they had equipped an i8 roadster concept from the same event last year with almost the same thing.

Although the previous version still needs the “touch commands” to be confirmed with the use of a physical touch pad. This new concept however sets an impression for the so-called “mobility experience”, which will be offered on vehicles with autonomous driving features.

In the previous years, CES has premiered not just new technologies but also new concepts that are only meant for an auto show. We think it’s one of those events you don’t want to miss especially if you’re up for a pleasant surprise. The 2017 CES will begin on January 5 and it will showcase this new HoloActive Touch as one of BMW’s “Inside Future” study.

Press Release

The BMW Group at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. BMW HoloActive Touch: An innovative operating concept for the interior of the future.

The BMW Group will provide another glimpse into the interior of the future at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas with a selection of trailblazing concepts and revolutionary technology. The BMW HoloActive Touch system, for example, will be making its debut at the show. This innovative interface between the driver and vehicle acts like a virtual touchscreen; its free-floating display is operated using finger gestures and confirms the commands with what the driver perceives as tactile feedback. BMW HoloActive Touch is part of the BMW i Inside Future study, which gives visitors to the CES, taking place on 5 – 8 January 2017, an impression of the mobility experience set to be offered by seamlessly connected and autonomously-driving cars in the future.

BMW HoloActive Touch brings together the advantages of the BMW Head-Up Display, BMW gesture control and direct touchscreen operation, and adds extra features to create a unique form of user interface. For the first time, the functions can be controlled without any physical contact with materials, but the technology still enables the visible and tangible driver-vehicle interaction familiar from conventional touchscreens. BMW HoloActive Touch also allows the user to access the wide variety of services provided by BMW Connected. The seamless integration of the personal digital mobility companion is highlighted even more vividly by the extremely intuitive interaction.

BMW has developed a track record for presenting pioneering advances in the field of display and operating concepts at previous editions of the CES. The BMW gesture control technology unveiled at the show in 2015 is now available in both the new BMW 7 Series and new BMW 5 Series models. And the AirTouch system showcased at CES 2016 took things a step further; here, the user employs simple gestures made with an open hand to activate control pads on a large panoramic display in the dashboard without having to touch the control interface.

BMW HoloActive Touch takes operating these functions and interacting with the vehicle to another level. Similarly to the Head-Up Display, the image of a full-colour display is generated by clever use of reflections – but now in free-floating form within the interior rather than through projection onto the windscreen. It displays flexibly configurable control pads and is visible to the driver next to the steering wheel at the height of the centre console. A camera detects the driver’s hand movements within this ergonomically user-friendly area, and registers the position of their fingertips, in particular. As soon as a fingertip makes contact with one of these virtual control surfaces, a pulse is emitted and the relevant function is activated.

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