In-Car Cameras May Replace Buttons & Levers With Hand Movements

Opening your car window could soon involve nothing more than a “swipe” gesture

Indicators, air conditioning, windscreen wipers, and windows are just some of the features in your car that you could soon control using nothing more than a simple hand movement. Google and Ford are both currently working on technology that could replace the need for a maze of buttons on your dashboard. Cars would be equipped with onboard cameras that recognizes various hand movements, each of which would control a different function within the car.

Both of the companies have published patent information that makes use of a swipe gesture to lower and raise a window. Other movements that could be put to use include a flick of the fingers around the steering wheel to turn on windscreen wipers or indicators, or a twisting hand movement in front of the dashboard to turn on your air conditioning or car radio.

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Despite potential applications for self-driving cars, Google claims that the hand gesture will be put to best use when drivers are still required to be in control of their car. That way, they won’t be distracted trying to find the right button for a particular function, and can keep the majority of their attention focused on the road.

Their patent reinforces this idea with such statements as:

While a user is manoeuvring a vehicle, the user may wish to perform a number of additional functions, such as navigating to a destination, changing the temperature in the vehicle, or changing the volume of music playing in the vehicle.

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The onboard cameras which would be used to recognize gestures could also be used to gather information about the driver’s attentiveness. If the system is unsure of whether a command was intentional or not, it can ask for a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” confirmation. It could even be used for added security to make sure the person driving the car is the actual owner, or ensure that drivers are paying enough attention while on the road.

Google // Ford

Source: Business Insider

Images: Google, Flickr

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