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BMW’s Interior of the Future Is Like That One Tom Cruise Sci-Fi Movie

BMW will debut the HoloActive Touch at CES 2017 in Las Vegas in January.BMW will debut the HoloActive Touch at CES 2017 in Las Vegas in January.
BMW will debut the HoloActive Touch at CES 2017 in Las Vegas in January.Courtesy of BMW

BMW will show off its vision for a car’s interior next month that makes today’s digital displays and touchscreens seem primitive in comparison.

The concept interior called HoloActive Touch system—which will debut at CES, the consumer electronics show held in Las Vegas—combines a heads-up display, gesture control, and direct touchscreen operations. What the driver gets with this combination is information like music and navigation that appears to float in the air. The driver can use finger gestures to interact with the information like pushing a virtual button, which sends haptic feedback so it feels like you’re touching it.

The system display control pads that are visible to the driver next to the steering wheel. A camera detects the driver’s hand movements and registers the position of their fingertips, BMW says. Once a fingertip makes contact with a virtual control surface, a pulse is generated and the button or whatever feature the driver is trying to interact with.

The HoloActive Touch is part of the automaker’s BMW i Inside Future study on the future of mobility and vehicle interiors—a space that is expected to transform as Internet-connected services improve and self-driving software goes mainstream.

BMW says the system allows the user to access a wide variety of services provided by BMW Connected.

This is a concept system. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever end up in a BMW. The gesture control technology that the automaker unveiled at CES in 2015 is now available in the new BMW 7 Series and new BMW 5 Series models.