Gesture to drive auto industry
The development of self-driving cars is going at a breathless pace. They are equipped with radars, GPS, computer vision among others that offer a springboard for the next stage of growth in the automotive industry. Meanwhile, a similar revolution is happening in Automotive Gesture Recognition System (AGRS) that will ensure on-board safety. It consists of an inbuilt control for several features in the car through hand or figure movement while making gestures. The system uses cameras and sensors in the vehicle cockpit to identify the correct gestures, instead of using knobs and conventional buttons. AGRS improves the safety by allowing the driver to concentrate on the road while driving. According to Madhumitha Sathish, Senior Analyst, Automotive Practice at market research agency Technavio, the current market size of over 24,000 units is wholly attributed to the luxury passenger car segment. She expects the market to account for over 223,000 units by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 55.44 per cent
The global automotive industry is going through a defining stage as it strives to develop fail-safe autonomous and driverless vehicles. The quantum of critical technology components is increasing at an accelerated pace. While this is going on, there is rising demand for gesture recognition technologies that offer safer driving experiences.
Vehicle buyers, who are already familiar with gesture detection solutions on touch-screens of consumer electronics such as smartphones, televisions and tablets, are looking at vehicle cockpits for introduction of gesture recognition-enabled multimedia and lighting systems and also in gear shifts.
This preference for electronic gadgets shown by drivers has spawned a huge demand for gesture detection solutions among automobile makers as they seek to differentiate their vehicles from their competitors.
Automotive Gesture Recognition Systems (AGRS) consist of inbuilt control for several features in the car through hand or figure movements while making gestures. The system uses cameras and sensors in the vehicle cockpit to identify the correct gestures. The aim is to improve the safety of the vehicle by allowing the driver to concentrate on the road while driving.
Explaining the major reasons for the double-digit growth forecast in the global demand for AGRS, Madhumitha Sathish, Senior Analyst, Automotive Practice at market research agency Technavio explained that the march towards autonomous vehicles is a facilitating factor for the demand growth.
“The current market size of over 24,000 units is wholly attributed to the luxury segment of passenger cars. Technavio expects the market to account for over 223,000 by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 55.44 per cent,” she told Tyre Asia in an interview.
Though gesture recognition products have been in existence for several years in the consumer electronics industry, it is still in the nascent stage in its product life cycle with reference to the automotive industry. Therefore, the cost is likely to be high, confining the product only to the luxury market segment of passenger cars in 2016.
“The automotive gesture recognition system is likely to witness some penetration only towards the end of the forecast period that clearly places the CAGR at a double digit growth rate. However, the market for contact gesture recognition systems is certainly not to experience double digit growth rates in the forecast period,” she explained.
Some of the factors that are showcasing conduciveness for the market for contactless gesture recognition systems in the automotive industry include developments in autonomous vehicles which will facilitate market entry and growth.
Sathish believes that the developments in sensor technology markets and human–machine interface (HMI) will give a push to market growth for AGRS.
Some of the factors that OEMs/Tier-I suppliers are likely to benefit from and as a result may package in the marketing communication for promoting the contactless gesture recognition system include among others the ability of the systems to provide an easier way of interacting with the vehicle’s infotainment systems thereby reducing the distraction level of the driver. The technology is also gaining maturity and acceptance from the consumer electronics market.
The continuing innovation in HMI has given rise to gesture recognition systems in the automotive industry and is also driving the demand, she observed. It is imperative to note that the consumers’ affinity towards exploring and accepting the new technology introductions on HMIs are adding to the brighter prospects anticipated by the industry respondents.
Physical touch gestures, as used in smartphones or the physical keypads and knobs, are the most dominating technology used for operating the in-vehicle systems such as infotainment, seating adjustment and temperature control among others.
This is because of the reliability factor that is now well-established due to wider adoption in consumer electronics and handheld communication devices such as mobile phones and tablets among others, Sathish said.
Likewise, contactless gesture recognition systems may find a route from consumer electronics and smartphones deployment of such systems. As audio/video entertainment is possible through handheld devices as well, standardisation in gesture forms can aid in enhancing the user acceptance of gesture recognition systems, she pointed out.
While enhancing the user experience has been the prime motive of smartphone manufacturers, the same can be directly applied by the automotive OEMs. “Therefore, as the technology gets widely adopted by smartphone market, the user acceptance will be on the rise, and with the technology gaining maturity in the smartphones, it is likely to have a positive impact on the automotive gesture recognition system market,” Sathish said.
Her market research agency Technavio believes that several technology players that offer gesture recognition solutions to the consumer electronics markets are likely to foray into the automotive industry because of the industry’s high growth potential and the need for product differentiation for the vehicle OEMs through inclusion of on-board/in-vehicle electronics.
“As per 2016 data, all luxury car makers have infotainment systems that are operated using touch screen mechanisms and have been working towards the development of contactless-gesture recognition technologies,” Sathish noted.
Research reveals that though OEMs like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have been showcasing the contactless-gesture recognition capabilities of their luxury cars, the system is likely to take at least a couple of years to be commercially available. And once that happens, there is going to be a rapid embracement of the technology by several car brands and variants.
Sathish clarified that her study considered high-resolution gesture recognition system that recognises contactless gestures. The market size does not include touch-gesture or contact gesture recognition systems.