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BMW will be presenting its new HoloActive Touch system at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas next month. Part of the BMW i Inside Future study, the system provides an interface between driver and vehicle via a virtual touchscreen – the free-floating display is operated using finger gestures and confirms the commands with what the driver perceives as tactile feedback.

The concept brings together the advantages of the head-up display, gesture control and direct touchscreen operation, with interaction and control of functions being done without any physical contact with materials.

Similar to the head-up display, a full-colour display image is presented, but in free-floating form within the interior rather than through projection onto the windscreen. Displaying flexibly configurable control pads, the image – which is generated through the use of reflections – is visible to the driver next to the steering wheel, positioned at the height of the centre console.

A camera detects the driver’s hand movements within this area, and registers the position of his/her fingertips. As soon as a fingertip makes contact with one of these virtual control surfaces, a pulse is emitted and the relevant function is activated.

The automaker says that HoloActive Touch will allow users to access the wide variety of services provided by BMW Connected, and says that the new operating concept highlights the seamless integration of the personal digital mobility companion even more vividly.