Toyota announced at the LA Auto Show that it is developing gesture control for the car radio.
The first we heard of this was last month, at the CEATEC show in Japan, where Toyota debuted a “Smart Insect” prototype electric car using motion sensing via Microsoft’s Kinect.
Wednesday, the head of Toyota’s U.S. division, Jim Lentz, confirmed the car maker is working with Microsoft to pursue hand motion control over functions like turning up the volume on the radio, said The Wall Street Journal.
Toyota is conducting research into hand motion control through an electric skateboard that operates by hand gestures. Raising the hand can control the throttle to make the skateboard go faster.
Similarly raising a hand could turn up the volume on a radio and lower the hand could lower the volume.
At a keynote address at the LA Auto Show Wednesday, Lentz said, “Imagine a dashboard where there are no buttons to push… no screens to tap… and your eyes can remain focused on the road. Well… that’s exactly what Toyota is working on.”
Toyota would like to combine gesture control with other advanced technology. In its “Smart Insect” prototype it uses motion sensors and facial-recognition technology to detect and authenticate the driver he approaches the car. Once the car recognizes the driver, it flashes its front lights.
“Then, detecting the driver’s hand gesture… the doors will open. The driver is greeted via the instrument panel… with a ‘Hello’ or any other phrase you chose,” said Lentz.
Next, “through voice recognition a ‘virtual agent’ will communicate with the driver, set the destination and operate various functions of the car like the audio system. This is sort of like our version of Herbie the Love Bug… but highly updated and tricked out,” he said.