To reduce the transmission of bacteria and viruses in a post Covid-19 world, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has developed a new contactless touchscreen technology in collaboration with the University of Cambridge.

The patented technology, which is referred to as “predictive touch,” uses artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors to predict a user’s intended target on the touchscreen. This allows one to access functions like satellite navigation, climate controls or entertainment settings without needing to make physical contact with on-screen buttons.

To go into detail, the system uses AI to determine the item the user intends to select on the screen early in the pointing task. A gesture tracker then uses vision-based or radio frequency-based sensors to combine contextual information such as user profile, interface design and environmental conditions with data available from other sensors, such as an eye-gaze tracker, to deduce the user’s intent in real time.

Aside from reducing the possibility of transmitting bacteria and viruses, the technology is also said to reduce a driver’s touchscreen interaction effort and time by up to 50%. Moreover, the system is claimed to make it easier to select an item on a touchscreen when the car is going over uneven or poor road surfaces that can often cause vibrations.

The predictive touch technology is part of JLR’s Destination Zero vision – a desire to make its vehicles safer and the environment cleaner and healthier – with other technologies being a Driver Condition Monitor, engine noise cancellation and cabin air ionisation with PM2.5 filtration.

“As countries around the world exit lockdown, we notice how many everyday consumer transactions are conducted using touchscreens: railway or cinema tickets, ATMs, airport check-ins and supermarket self-service checkouts, as well as many industrial and manufacturing applications,” said Lee Skrypchuk, human machine interface technical specialist at JLR.

“Predictive touch technology eliminates the need to touch an interactive display and could therefore reduce the risk of spreading bacteria or viruses on surfaces. The technology also offers us the chance to make vehicles safer by reducing the cognitive load on drivers and increasing the amount of time they can spend focused on the road ahead. This is a key part of our Destination Zero journey,” he added.

“Touchscreens and other interactive displays are something most people use multiple times per day, but they can be difficult to use while in motion, whether that’s driving a car or changing the music on your phone while you’re running. We also know that certain pathogens can be transmitted via surfaces, so this technology could help reduce the risk for that type of transmission,” commented Simon Godsill from Cambridge University’s Department Of Engineering.

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