There are many gestures we make while driving that are completely wasted. We flick off the guy who cuts us off and nothing happens (unless he stops to get out of his car and express his point of view with fisticuffs). In the future, we may be gesturing up a storm inside our cars instead of pushing buttons on the dash with our fingertips. Carl Pickering of the Jaguar and Land Rover Technical Research Center wrote a recent article that details how many OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers and aftermarket companies are hard at work on gesture recognition technologies that would allow us to control our vehicle systems with a flick of the wrist or a flip of the bird. While most systems are employing camera-based systems that use image recognition software, Pickering and his team weren't satisfied with that technology's inability to adapt to various lighting conditions and backgrounds and working in real time. Instead, he and his team are working on a sensor-based system that uses low-frequency electric fields through which a driver would pass his hand. Still other companies are trying infrared LEDs, holographic projections with air curtains, and even more exotic technologies to forever alter the way we crank up our stereos. One thing's for certain, according to Pickering, which is that non-contact gesture recognition systems are on their way, and he thinks they'll be widespread by the year 2020.

[Source: Auto Industry via Wired]