Tech users of the world beware – just as touchscreens have infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives over the past decade, gesture-based controls will do the same in the coming years. And yes, that includes gesture-enabled cars, according to a patent filing by Google.

The tech giant, which has made no bones about its autonomous-vehicle aspirations and is expanding into wearable tech, has filed a patent that would see drivers use gestures to control a vehicle, according to a report from Engadget. The system, if it ever arrives in the automobile, would use a depth camera mounted on the roof of the car and a laser scanner. So for example, swiping near a window would roll it down, while making a motion at the radio would adjust the volume.

It's not hard to imagine an army of motion-based controls, not unlike what we have on a multi-touch-enabled computer, where pinching would zoom in the navigation screen, and swiping at the vents would increase the temperature or fan speed. Really, this patent raises a number of interesting questions.

And while the safety issues relating to motion-based controls in a conventional car seem as obvious as they are numerous, adding this sort of futuristic tech to an autonomous car, which as we mentioned, Google is kind of into, would be an interesting and futuristic touch (no pun intended) indeed.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      fuzzyfish6
      • 1 Year Ago
      While gestures are far better than buttons on a touch screen, I can't see how gestures can improve much over buttons and dials in a vehicle "So for example, swiping near a window would roll it down, while making a motion at the radio would adjust the volume." What exactly is wrong with the current window switches? I can roll down my windows just as easily and accurately with switches, ditto volume for the radio. This sounds just like those stupid capacitive touch buttons on some of the MFT/MLT and CUE, having tech for just the sake of having tech. What problems does it actually solve?
      chrismcfreely
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sneeze n crash. tm
      dovegraybird
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great, one sneeze and my radio will be blasting while my windshield wipers turn on fast.
      Michael Walsh
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why is a Teletubby driving that car?
      lars
      • 1 Year Ago
      Already know the gesture to honk. :-P
      Durishin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh! That'll be a hit in Italy! And Rhode Island!
      notanotherusername
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let me get this straight -- I flip someone off, and I make a right? Have these people never driven in Italy? This will be genocide...
        Card13
        • 1 Year Ago
        @notanotherusername
        It doesn't control the car, silly. It will only replace the various audio/climate/etc controls
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      No touch, no wave, just computer do this or that, ala Star Trek Next Gen. Automotive touch screens are going to prove fatally distractive.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Kay
      • 1 Year Ago
      so now i cant move my hands in a car anymore?
      Jmaister
      • 1 Year Ago
      why bother, really? Bottons are fast and secure. Gesture sensing is...vague, unprecise. both hands on the wheel pls, some ppl cant multitask.
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