Waving your hands in the air like you just don't care could have a totally different meaning if Toyota's new gesture control technology comes to market. The company's hard at work creating new sensors and features that respond to your gestures, words, and even your facial expressions to make driving your car smarter, safer and more seamless than ever before.
One technology currently in development allows you to adjust basic car functions, such as fiddling with the radio volume, simply by raising and lowering your hand. The idea is still in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports, but Toyota's "Board of Awesomeness" R&D group already have a basic version up and running that allows the team to control an automated skateboard using hand gestures alone.
"Imagine a dashboard where there are no buttons to push, no screens to tap, and your eyes can remain focused on the road," Toyota U.S. President and CEO Jim Lentz explained at the L.A. Auto Show. "Well, that’s exactly what Toyota is working on."
Additionally, the company's "Smart INSECT" electric vehicles include technology that reads your face and body motions to predict your actions and responds to vocal commands to perform basic functions. For example, the car's light flashes when you walk up to it and it recognizes your face, and its door unlocks when you walk up to it and make a gesture. It'll also greet you when you enter and talk to you to set up trip destinations and handle the radio via voice commands.
"This is sort of like our version of Herbie the Love Bug, but highly updated and tricked out," Lentz quipped. A Smart INSECT vehicle went on sale in Japan this past September.