Gesture recognition could change driving, machine control
Gesture recognition, which uses a camera or other sensor to enable a driver to operate in-vehicle systems with a wave of the hand, could revolutionize the way we drive vehicles and operate machinery.
Research firm IHS forecasts that sales of automotive proximity and gesture recognition systems will soar by a factor of 50 during the next decade, reaching 38 million units by 2023. Nearly 40 percent of new vehicles sold in that year will have some proximity or gesture recognition features, IHS predicts.
In addition to vehicles, gesture recognition can be used for control equipment. For example, Grayhill recently released its Instinct 2.0 tool that enables a person to use gesture to control machines and off-highway equipment.
Mark Boyadjis, senior analyst and manager for automotive infotainment at IHS, commented that gestures are the "natural method of human communication, one that is used subconsciously in everyday interpersonal communications. Because of this, gestures can be used in control automotive infotainment functions ranging from navigation to satellite radio with minimum driver distraction."
The Cadillac User Experience was the first system to use gesture recognition and proximity sensing in a mass-market-production vehicle. A pair of infrared sensors just below the screen detect when the user's hand approaches the screen and activates frequently used menus. These menus would clutter the screen if displayed constantly, and the proximity sensors are used to reduce the graphical user interface's complexity after a user has made a selection, explained Boyadjis.
According to a report by Automotive Engineering International, Hyundai also previewed earlier this year gesture control for audio systems, enabling drivers to adjust volume with a hand gesture. In addition, Toyota and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) are working together on similar technologies.
IHS expects the first high-resolution gesture systems to appear in 2017. Beyond that, new technologies such as augmented reality displays are expected to be available.