Big motor shows still have a place for auto makers, but the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas is fast becoming a fashionable place to launch new connected concept cars and cabins. CES 2017 will play host to BMW's HoloActive Touch Concept, which previews what the connected, gesture-controlled interior of the future might look like.
The HoloActive Touch interior draws together elements of the gesture control, touchscreen and head-up display systems currently serving in production and concept BMWs. It's headlined by a new holographic control interface, which uses hardware similar to the tech in windshield head-up displays to project a floating three-dimensional menu over the center console. A camera is able to determine when one of the virtual buttons is pressed, and an energy pulse is released to let the driver know when their input has been registered.
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BMW has been particularly active in trying to work out what the Ultimate Driving Machine of the future will look like from behind the wheel. Traditionally, BMW interiors are simple and functional, with clear orange dials and a console tilted toward the driver, but what' consumers expect of an interior is changing.
Volkswagen Group has the excellent Virtual Cockpit system and Mercedes has moved to a clever dual-screen setup in the cabin of its new E-Class, while other brands are playing around with holographic displays in their own concepts. This year alone, we've seen the iVision Future Interaction Concept with its clever head-up display, the iNext with its transforming cabin and the AirTouch, which extends the reach of the gesture control system debuted in the 7 Series.
It'll be interesting to see which of these concepts catches on, and which is consigned to the scrapheap reserved for concept ideas that couldn't cut it in the real world.
The HoloActive Touch will debut at CES in January, where New Atlas will be on the ground covering all the action.