The automotive industry has become so dependent on electronics that apparently these account for nearly half of the total cost of a conventional vehicle, and more for electric and hybrid vehicles. And this trend is expected to gain further momentum as cars get more and more advanced. The BMW Group, which has always been among the first to introduce progressive technology in their cars, such as the gesture control feature introduced in the new 7 Series, is set to bring yet another innovative concept to the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas.

The new technology, known as the BMW HoloActive Touch system, is an interface between the driver and vehicle that acts like a virtual touchscreen. It is a floating holographic display, which is controlled by finger gestures. This means the infotainment system can be operated without any physical contact with the screen, while offering visible and tangible feedback similar to those of conventional touchscreens. The system is similar to the Head-Up Display, but instead of projecting the display onto the windscreen, it turns reflections into a free-floating display on the right side of the steering wheel at the same height of the centre console. It incorporates configurable control pads, which makes use of a camera to detect the driver’s hand movements, and registers the position of his or her fingertips. Apparently, when fingertip makes contact with one of these virtual control surfaces, a pulse is emitted and the relevant function is triggered.

As futuristic and impractical in the near future this technology might seem, we won’t be surprised if this makes its way into a BMW soon. This is because gesture control technology unveiled at CES in 2015 is now available in both the 7 Series and the 5 Series.