To make it easier for drivers to navigate its in-car navigation units while still concentrating on the road, Pioneer is introducing a new touch-free sensor that recognizes broad gestures made with the hand. The driver will still need to reach for the display on their dashboard, but instead of tapping the screen they can simply move their hand back and forth to zoom the map, skip tracks, or trigger pre-specified functions.
The $1,600 Raku Navi AVIC-MRZ009 will be rolled out in Japan next week with its Air Gesture Sensor that uses an infra-red system to detect and track the motion of the driver's hand. It doesn't limit the functionality of the navigation unit's touchscreen, though, which can still be operated with taps for accessing all of its functionality. The new gesture system is just meant to be a safer alternative for accessing more common functions without requiring the driver to take their eyes off the road. [Pioneer via Tech-On!]