Is the ultimate driving machine set to become the ultimate lounging machine? With visions of an autonomous driving experience—complete with built-in bookcase, 4K video monitor, and on-demand services courtesy of BMW’s Connected Cloud architecture—BMW’s i Inside Future exhibit at CES 2017 suggests this isn’t your father’s BMW.
The exhibit was also the occasion for debuting BMW’s HoloActive Touch, an innovative system that shows us the future of interactivity. It integrates three key components: a micro-mirror array that projects a holographic image into space from an LCD screen below, an ultrasonic haptic array to provide tactile feedback to your interactions with the virtual holographic controls, and an Intel RealSense gesture camera mounted in the dashboard to track your in-air gestures within the holographic/haptic zone. Hence the name, HoloActive Touch. These three elements work in concert to create an interactive but contactless “surface” that enables driver control over a plethora of dynamic functions spanning climate control to infotainment to navigation—even your Amazon shopping experience.
Besides the convenience it will offer drivers, the system is designed specifically to reduce distractions in the human-machine interface. The haptic technology, developed in conjunction with the University of Tokyo, is a key enabling element in this new picture of interactivity; combining it with the holographic element provides a whole new complement—and interactive experience—to the head-up display.
While the bookcase might not materialize as a production feature, look for HoloActive Touch to make its way into production vehicles in the next couple of years.