Jaguar Land Rover develops contactless touchscreen to tackle bacteria and viruses

Predictive TouchJaguar Land Rover and the University of Cambridge have developed contactless touchscreen technology to help keep drivers’ eyes on the road and reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses in a post-COVID-19 world

The patented technology, known as ‛predictive touch’, uses artificial intelligence and sensors to predict a user’s intended target on the touchscreen – whether that’s satellite navigation, temperature controls or entertainment settings, without touching a button.

The system, developed with engineers at the University of Cambridge, is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero vision, a desire to make its vehicles safer and the environment cleaner and healthier.

In the ‘new normal’ once lockdowns around the world are lifted, a greater emphasis will be placed on safe, clean mobility where personal space and hygiene will carry premiums. Jaguar Land Rover vehicles are already designed to help improve passenger wellbeing, with innovations including a Driver Condition Monitor, engine noise cancellation and cabin air ionisation with PM2.5 filtration to capture ultrafine particles and allergens. New technology like predictive touch is another step forward.

Lab-tests and on-road trials showed the predictive touch technology could reduce a driver’s touchscreen interaction effort and time by up to 50 per cent, as well as limiting the spread of bacteria and viruses.

The technology uses artificial intelligence to determine the item the user intends to select on the screen early in the pointing task, speeding up the interaction. A gesture tracker uses vision-based or radio frequency-based sensors, which are increasingly common in consumer electronics, 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 infer the user’s intent in real time.

Lee Skrypchuk, human machine interface technical specialist at Jaguar Land Rover, said, “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. Predictive touch technology eliminates the need to touch an interactive display and could therefore reduce the risk of spreading bacteria or viruses on surfaces."

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