BMW Motorrad patent for gesture control

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BMW Motorrad patent for gesture control


technology & future

BMW Motorrad patent for gesture control

BMW Motorrad patent for gesture control
Guide with your fingers

The functions and comfort features of modern motorcycles are becoming more and more extensive. The switch fittings are already huge components, some of which are difficult to use. BMW Motorrad is evidently thinking of using gesture control as a remedy.

Jens Kratschmar


The days of switch fittings with six buttons are long gone. Heated grips, cruise control, on-board computer, radio transmitter, windshield, mapping, chassis mode and the navigation system also need to be set while driving. With glove size 9 or smaller and switch units the size of a bread box, this becomes difficult and therefore unsafe because it can be distracting. Now BMW wants to patent a system to make certain operating routines possible via gesture control.

BMW Motorrad patent for gesture control


As the display continues to grow, so too must the control elements. BMW would like to remedy this with gesture control.

Gesture control on the motorcycle

“1,000 euros have just been debited from her account because of an insulting hand gesture.” Hopefully a BMW with gesture control will never utter anything like this. The reaction to a hand movement of the driver is intentional with the motorcycle. To make it easier to operate increasingly complex applications while driving, BMW would like to make certain routines possible via gesture control. It is planned to use a stereoscopic camera as a sensor for the gesture. As an alternative, the patent specification mentions an infrared camera in order to recognize the gestures even in the dark.

BMW Motorrad patent for gesture control

Honda Europe

Using the example of the current Goldwing and the spaceship-like center console, the need for new operating options is heavily underlined.

Not a wild waggle

However, the system will not cause wild waving and sweeping gestures: the gesture sensor is positioned by BMW in such a way that the hand can stay on the handlebars. It may be that the rear-view mirror on the underside is equipped accordingly or that there is a sensor on or in the handguard. BMW does not rule out a position on the tank or frame either. One thing is certain: finger movements are mainly used because the hand remains on the handlebars. BMW speaks of a circling index finger, a swiping movement of one or more fingers or the vertical rocking of a finger. The system can be used accordingly on both handlebar grips. BMW does not rule out that the gestures can also be set individually.

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Gestures could also be a way of either reducing the number of controls on motorcycles, which continues to grow, or at least making them easier to use. However, a simplification of the systems by omitting ballast is not to be expected. In addition, there is too much potential in the field of semi-autonomous driving aids – partly fortunately, partly unlucky.

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