Researchers integrate smartphone style gestures to replace drivers hunting for buttons and controls.

A group of researchers from the University of Stuttgart, University of Duisburg-Essen and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence have devised a prototype steering wheel with a center touch screen display. Integrating a touch screen in a steering wheel is intended to reduce the need for the driver to take their eyes off the road while looking for vehicle controls. The screen has the ability to recognize 20 gestures such as swiping which controls the radio and two finger pinching to zoom on a navigation map. The first letter of a command can be quickly traced on the screen to access systems like the heater controls. Looking ahead, the researchers believe that the touch screen wheel could be linked to a windshield projector and vehicle sensor system which could better provide information about road and traffic conditions to the driver.

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