CES 2017: HoloActive Touch – a new HOLO control concept for BMW vehicles

BMW presents HoloActive Touch – the innovative control concept for the interior of the vehicles of the future

With its trendsetting concepts and revolutionary technology, the BMW Group is providing a further glimpse into the future at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas.

Gesture control floating freely in space

The BMW HoloActive Touch system is being presented for the first time at the CES. The innovative interface between driver and vehicle is similar to a virtual touchscreen, which is operated using finger gestures on a screen that appears to float freely in space and acknowledges the commands given with a haptically perceptible feedback. BMW HoloActive Touch is part of the BMW i Inside Future study, which gives visitors to the CES from January 5 to 8, 2017 an initial impression of the mobility experience in the seamlessly connected and automatically driving automobiles of the future.

BMW HoloActive Touch combines the advantages of the BMW Head-Up Display, BMW Gesture Control, and the direct operation of a touchscreen, thus enhancing them to create a unique form of user interface.

For the first time, functions are controlled via a completely immaterial user interface, which nevertheless makes interaction between the driver and the vehicle, familiar from conventional touchscreens, both visible and perceptible. BMW HoloActive Touch can also be used to control the wide range of services provided by BMW Connected, additionally underlining the seamless integration of the personal digital mobility assistant through highly intuitive interaction.

Operating the controls without touching

At the CES in Las Vegas, BMW had already presented trendsetting advances in the field of display and control concepts in previous years. The BMW Gesture Control technology was first presented at the CES in 2015 and is meanwhile available for the new BMW 5 and 7 Series. The BMW Group showcased a further advance at the CES 2016 with its AirTouch system, which enables drivers to use simple hand gestures to activate command fields on a large panorama screen on the dashboard without having to touch the user interface.

BMW HoloActive Touch enables the driver to experience the operating process and the interaction with the vehicle more intensively than ever. Similar to the Head-Up Display, the image of a full-color screen is generated through skillful mirroring, however not on the windshield, but floating freely in the interior of the vehicle. It displays freely configurable buttons and is visible to the driver next to the steering wheel at the height of the center console. In this area, which is easily accessible for the driver, a camera records his or her hand gestures, registering the position of the fingertips in particular. As soon as they touch one of the virtual buttons, a haptic impulse is emitted and the linked function is activated.

How does BMW HoloActive Touch work?

According to Techcrunch, BMW is developing HoloActive Touch in collaboration with the UK company Ultrahaptics and focusing on tactile but invisible controls that could well revolutionize the automotive market. Ultrasound waves are specifically emitted and recorded in combination with cameras, so that invisible buttons can be freely placed in the vehicle’s interior, which then actually feel like buttons. In principle, the system combines gesture control with a haptic component. Apparently, this technology is combined with a hologram projector, enabling a freely floating image to be projected into the vehicle’s interior, comparable to other holographic projectors


When will BMW HoloActive Touch be on the market?

The concept car presented at the CES is explicitly a study and not a finished model ready for the market, so it will be some time before the first car buyers are able to enjoy using the new BMW HoloActive Touch technology.

Conclusion: “Great technological approach – fascinating concept!”


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    Matthias Mangold

    Matthias Mangold

    Head of Innovation

    E-mail: m.mangold@magic-holo.com
    Tel: +49 6132 899 04 210