Alps Electric wants to wire up your car for interactivity

At first glance it might seem that Alps Electric would actually just be happy to have you crash horrifically or mow down pedestrians while trying to fiddle with one of its steering wheel-mounted touchpads. Upon closer examination, however, it seems the Japanese-based Alps just loves tech, and is content to leave the specific applications — and their potential safety implications — up to others. The touchpads seem like a nice addition to a car if someone can come up with low-impact UI to be controlled by them, but we’re more interested in the stereo camera and human presence sensor Alps Electric wants to build into your car roof. The idea is that it allows for folks in the back seat to use gestures to control the dashboard navigation device, or AC vents to automatically point themselves at the appropriate height of the occupant. The camera and presence sensor can also be used to obtain imagery of potential car thieves. We don’t know how much all this will cost, or when we’ll start finding it in our cars, but in the meantime we’re going to start gesticulating wildly in the backseat of vehicles and seeing if any onboard electronics notice.


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