Published on June 8th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Project Soli: Google’s new radar-based gesture control system

As modern technology accelerates in development and complexity, we’re seeing a lot of car companies taking notice and trying to implement these systems in their cars, usually via the infotainment system. Audi is embracing virtual reality for their showrooms, while BMW MINI is actually trying to integrate virtual reality, or augmented reality, for everyday use.

BMW 7 Series Gesture Control ConnectedDrive iDrive

One thing that’s also popped up more recently is gesture control. BMW is introducing it for their 7 Series (as are many other companies for their high end models), but in more frank terms these systems are no more complex or intricate than the simple IR/camera sensor found in a Volkswagen Golf. They’re simply programmed to recognize more than proximity.

What Google has been working on in their Advanced Technology and Projects division (or ATAP), is a proper gesture control system that allows for more intricate, precise control. The system is so precise that it can detect the movement of fingers, making it more sophisticated than the 3D spatial recognition system that’s currently in play.

Google Soli Gesture Control

While there aren’t a great many functions to control in a car outside of driving, this high level of precision hardware could prove to make infotainment systems simpler and more elegant. The system can be made extremely compact, fitted on a chip not much larger than a fingernail, meaning it has a great range of flexibility. When will we see it on the market? That can’t be said for sure, but no doubt auto manufacturers are taking notice and may adopt this if it proves to be a cheaper, more elegant alternative.

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