Continental integrates gesture-based control into the steering wheel image

The German auto supplier improves its gesture-based control gimmick and integrates this feature into the steering wheel for more convenience.

The auto suppliers are speeding up their efforts to bring more technologies into cars, as customers are permanently asking for more gadgets. The gesture-based control feature is not a new one, but the German auto parts supplier Continental says that it improved the technology even further by shifting the focus detection zone for gestures onto the steering wheel.

Continental gesture-based control steering wheel 1

The new system uses two transparent plastic panels without any electronic components, fitted behind the wheel, which act almost like a touchpad. Some sensors integrated in the instrument cluster detect the motion of the hand and convert it into actions for the driver to navigate through the menus by swiping up and down, confirming the selection by gently tapping the pads.

Continental gesture-based control steering wheel 2

The tech can also be used touch-free. For example, if the driver swipes his fingers up and down while keeping his hands on the steering wheel, he can accept or reject calls. “With gestures in a clearly defined area on the steering wheel, we can minimize distraction and increase safety,” Ralf Lenninger, head of system development, said. “This narrowing down also prevents the driver from unintentionally starting gesture-based control by means of their usual everyday gestures, and thus making unwanted selections.”

Continental gesture-based control steering wheel 3

The system comprises a 3D camera system with an integrated 3D image sensor that converts the infrared signal detected into a 3D image. It can currently detect four different gestures: setting the navigation, browsing through apps and starting music, answering calls, and controlling the on-board computer.

Continental gesture-based control steering wheel 4