• Jan 26, 2012
When Mercedes-Benz rolls with DICE (Dynamic & Intuitive Control Experience), many of the clumsy controls that drivers have to fumble over will be a thing of the past. At CES 2012, luxury automakers like Mercedes and Audi (more on that in next week's episode) have envisioned gesture-based controls to be the future of in-car tech. Much like the Xbox Kinect, DICE allows a simply swipe your hand to command the car. (Yes, just like in Minority Report.)

So how does it work?

Basically, there are many little proximity sensors in the cabin that detect driver movements. When a certain action is made, like swiping or grabbing toward the screen (in this case, the windshield HUD) DICE recognizes the input and responds. That response can be anything from gathering info on a local business to controlling your favorite music.

All kinds of information can be displayed on the windshield, but there is also another screen located below on the dashboard that displays more detailed information. During the CES demo, DICE simulated driving through San Francisco. When passing by key restaurants, gas stations or shopping stops, DICE placed a circle on the map allowing more info to be grabbed. To gather more, the driver simply had to move their hand toward the indicator and press forward, like pushing a button. From there you can swipe the info down to the dashboard to save for later.

Mercedes-Benz DICE

So what's the point?

DICE and other gesture-based systems will further reduce drivers glancing down to adjust their controls. By using the large space occupied by the windshield, DICE is able to project a large amount of info if the driver wants it. The tricky part to DICE is how much information should be shown at any given time.

Imagine that you are driving and have your navigation route projected onto the windshield so that you'll never again miss that hard to spot right-hand turn. Imagine knowing this information without taking your eyes off the road. This is where the OEMs want to go. Customers are asking to be more connected, but major car companies know that solutions have to be both safe and intuitive to catch on.

What do we think?

There's still a lot of work to be done on this. As some of you know, gesture-based systems aren't perfect yet. And certainly something that goes into a car will have to be close to perfect to preclude accidents. For now, we'll to settle with Mercedes' COMAND wheel.

What do you think? Will DICE make life inside a car easier, or just add more distractions? Sound off in comments.



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