According to Porsche, gesture control technology found aboard various automobile infotainment systems such as the BMW’s iDrive platform and the like are merely a “gimmick” – a genuine opinion from the brand or a thinly-veiled shot at BMW, we’ll never know for sure. What we do know is that, according to CarAdvice, Porsche’s chief of human machine interface (HMI) design at Porsche isn’t convinced by the whole setup.

“We tested gesture control a lot but I do not think that this is the future. I think it’s in hype now and it’s not so exact,” Porsche HMI design chief, Lutz Krauss, told the Australian automotive portal. With gesture control, Krauss is adamant that drivers seen actively interacting with the system could portray an unintended message of some sort to pedestrians outside the vehicle.

“For example if you say next track (by waving your hand) you’re also communicating with the man outside, ‘please go’, it’s a problem to understand what does the driver really expect with this gesture,” he added. “In some other cars you have to learn the commands, it’s like in DOS, you have to learn ‘Format C:’ and it’s not an object-orientated dialogue and in a natural gesture to recognise what is ok, or yes or no.”


Interior of the Porsche 911 Carrera with the new PCM infotainment system.

With that said, Krauss isn’t exactly about to wage an all-out war on gesture control just yet. While he has stated that the current systems are still gimmicky in nature, advancements made in the field could eventually make it all the more useable. “With the algorithms that are available now (it’s a gimmick), maybe in the future the algorithms are more intelligent with gaze recognition,” he said.

The new G11 BMW 7 Series is amongst the first models to jump on the gesture control bandwagon with its iDrive 5.0 interface. Featuring said technology, the system is capable of reading one’s hand gesture to control a variety of equipment. For example, one can adjust the volume of the radio just by turning an imaginary knob in front of the massive centre-mounted display screen or reject incoming calls by ‘waving’ it away.

GALLERY: BMW iDrive 5.0 with gesture control technology