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Volkswagen introduces a gesture-controlled smart car

The German engineering giant tricks out the smart car with its Golf R Touch.


Taylor Hatmaker


Posted on Jan 6, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 8:24 pm CDT

During a short and sweet press event at the Consumer Electronics Show, Volkswagen took the opportunity to show off a version of its popular Golf model compact—with a twist. It’s no flying car, but the Golf R Touch—the German automaker’s newest spin on a smart car—has plenty of tricks up its sleeve thanks to proximity sensors and gesture-based controls powered by a special 3D camera installed in the roof console. 

 We had a chance to play passenger in VW’s special edition Golf, and the experience was surprisingly seamless. As you can see in the video below, gesture controls made for a quick way to adjust the volume and navigate the special user interface in the center of the dash. A haptic feedback system means that even though they might be waving a hand around, the driver doesn’t need to take their eyes off the road. A multitouch digital slider can distinguish how many fingers are being used for input and a 12.3-inch “active display” presents an array of virtual tiles that can be rearranged to a driver’s liking.

While there was no word on when and if this model would see the dealer floor, it’s a fun experiment in the various ways VW might trick out a smart car, all in the name of making complex tech look as easy as a swipe of the hand.



Photos via Taylor Hatmaker

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*First Published: Jan 6, 2015, 1:27 am CST