In a new video published to the Internet on Wednesday by Diginfo TV, Alps Electric – parent company of Alpine Electronics – demonstrates a prototype of future automotive control technology that redefines the human interface with the car of the future. Shown earlier this year at a show in Japan, this is the first time the concept was demonstrated to the rest of the world thanks to this video.
See this futuristic interface which includes gestures, predictive configuration, and haptic technology…
Designed to have the automobile adapt to the human, rather than vice versa, Alps has incorporated technologies that greatly simplifies the control process for the driver. The concept demonstrated in the video shows the use of a Multi-Modal Commander…almost a jog dial really…that allows the driver to simply dial in the top level command.
Not stopping there, Alps also added gesturing in which sensors monitor the drivers hand movements, turning them into selecting and actuating control commands. This is tricky as the vehicle must distinguish between unrelated hand movements, and those intended to be for the purpose of control.
A haptic smarter shifter…
Also included in this dramatic new concept car is a Haptic Shifter. The haptic shifter not only provides tactile feedback, but also operates by only offering movement options based on a dynamic assessment of the current operating situation – a smart shifter if you will.
The haptic shifter can actually change its operation based on the user preferences. For example, it can provide an “I” shift pattern, or an “H” shift pattern based on which the drivers prefers. It also guides it’s movement based on current conditions – such as only providing an easy gliding movement for the lever into second gear from first gear.
Master and Multi-Modal Commander…
The Multi-Modal Commander uses a capacitive sensor in a hemispherically-shaped device along with a near-infrared sensor. Alps says that its operation is completely intuitive to humans who can operate it by touch…and by gesture.
The system is smart. In order to discern the difference between an unrelated hand movement (i.e. waving your hand at a friend on the street), and an attempt at control via hand gesture…the system creates what Alps calls an infrared “curtin” around the Multi-Mode Commander. Once a hand movement penetrates this curtain, the hand movement is assessed to be a command.
So smart, it can predict your desires…
In fact, the system is so smart that it predicts what command the hand movement is expected to access by comparing the “optical flow” of the movement with memorized typical hand vectors. The system can even distinguish between movements from the driver or the passenger – altering the command options based on this determination.
Right now, this technology is just for the purpose of conceptualizing the future. But Alps Electric says that they would like to begin selling the new control system in the next five-to-six years.
See more about Alps Electric here: www.alps.com.