BMW to debut hologram controls at CES

Characteristics of head-up display, gesture control and touchscreen

Published: December 15, 2016, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:21 PM

BMW HoloActive Touch

BMW is bringing together the characteristics of head-up display, gesture control and touchscreen operation to the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with a 3D control system called HoloActive Touch.

HoloActive Touch works like a virtual touchscreen, where the driver doesn’t have to physically touch a screen to work a control, but virtually manipulate an image floating over the display. The driver actually gets tactile and visual feedback to confirm engagement.

The image is created through reflections, in a manner similar to head-up display, though it is free-floating and not projected onto a surface. It hovers beside the steering wheel at centre-console height and a camera is used to detect the user’s hand movements, in particular the location of the fingertips. When a finger “makes contact” with one of the virtual control surfaces, a pulse is sent and the control is engaged.

Not only does it provide control over the traditional vehicle functions but also a new suite of features developed with the enhancements in on-board connectivity, and reportedly is very intuitive in its presentation.

BMW introduced gesture control at CES 2015 and is now available on new 7 and 5 Series models, and last year showed AirTouch, which allowed the user to work control pads on the instrument panel without having to touch a control interface.

The system is part of the BMW display at CES in Las Vegas (January 5-8, 2017). Called Inside Future, it gives show visitors an impression of the work the company is doing in areas of autonomous driving and the connectivity it requires.