mappilotharman mercedes Harman to develop facial and gesture recognition tech for cars

Road rage will never be the same again once in-car gesture controls are adopted.  For instance, if you want turn on the radio on you could flip the middle finger, and for increasing volume you could shake your fist.  Okay, no companies in their right minds will use those kinds of gestures, but Harman—an automotive tech supplier—has plans to begin producing systems that recognizes hand and facial gestures for automotive use.

Road rage will never be the same again once in-car gesture controls are adopted.  For instance, if you want turn on the radio on you could flip the middle finger, and for increasing volume you could shake your fist.  Okay, no companies in their right minds will use those kinds of gestures, but Harman—an automotive tech supplier—has plans to begin producing systems that recognizes hand and facial gestures for automotive use.

Microsoft is rumored to begin research and development of the same type of gesture tech for automotive use utilizing its Kinect technology.  However, Harman may beat Microsoft to the punch as the Harman European division has already started developing their gesture technologies.

As per the types of gestures used (they’re a bit more coy compared to the middle finger or fist shaking), Recombu reports that drivers can turn the radio on or off with a wink of an eye, increase or decrease volume by tilting their heads, and tap the steering wheel to skip to the next songs.

The Harman dashboard unit has infrared sensors built-in to detect the user’s expressions and gestures.  Don’t worry if you “accidentally” wink at a pretty lady in the car next to you, Harman claims that their technology can detect accidental as well as intentional gestures. 

Director of technology, Hans Roth, says that Harman’s gesture systems add to driver’s safety by “reducing distraction in the car.”

“These basic gestures are being tested to find the ideal system that can be used in countries around the world,” he adds.  “In Italy, for example, drivers use hand gestures a lot so it needs finalizing.  It’s about choosing the right gestures and getting it into production.”

Harman plans on deploying their automotive gestures technology in two to three years.