When electronic steering and various other driving aids first hit the market, most automobile enthusiasts cried foul and claimed that the electronics were no match for the thrill that manual control over one’s machine produced. Over time, most of us lesser mortals got accustomed to having these gizmos and now tech geeks are taking the notion one step further and introducing in-cabin gadgetry that can allow users to control their rides via hand gestures! Dubbed DICE, this Dynamic & Intuitive Control Experience is pioneered by none other than Mercedes-Benz. The dramatic innovation is based around the theory that a smart car can be more than just a means of transportation in much the same way that a smartphone is more than just a device we use to communicate.
Showcased at the 2012 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show, the visionary perspective promises to afford new mobility concepts greater flexibility and freedom. Using gesture-based controls, the DICE system is fitted on a fully customizable dashboard and comes complete with augmented reality inside a very futuristic looking cabin. To control a variety of functions by using just hand gestures, DICE allows users to scroll, expand, select and highlight a variety functions on almost all kinds of in-cabin gadgets. Spread across the interior is a series of proximity sensors detect hand motions which allow users to simply wave a finger to manipulate the functions of devices that have so far relied only on buttons and knobs for operation.
The basic motivation for the development of the technology is very simple: it aims at providing the end consumer with greater independence. At the moment, most electronics in the cabin are seen as mere trimmings for the average consumer since most people only use personal vehicles for traveling to places they already know the route to. For people who actually use the sat nav, there already a number of navigational apps that can be downloaded to smartphones as well as in-cabin units to make one’s life easier.
However, both smartphone apps and dedicated navigational units are either touch-enabled or need the user to fiddle around with buttons and knobs. The DICE on the other hand, allows the user the freedom to interact with these systems via gestures alone so they can fully concentrate on the road while figuring out routes.
The idea is clever and can potentially be a real saver by letting people focus on driving without giving up the use of in-cabin gizmos. Having said that, the DICE fares rather poorly on accounts of accuracy since there is no system in place to tell if you’re gesturing a command or simply waving your hand about while you talk. What’s also a bit of a bummer for fans of futuristic tech is that the DICE in its current state, can only be used to control sound systems, navigational aids, social media apps and businesses and places of interest nearby. In short, the DICE has the functionality that you already get with your smartphone but it lets you access this variety of functions with hand gestures.
The good thing is that top Mercedes executives have said it would take at least 20 years for this kind of a thing to be introduced in production models which gives us hope that twenty years down the line, we may actually have vehicles that would respond to gestures and allow us to drive by merely waving our fingers!
Via: Auto Blog