A Microsoft job description suggests the company is looking for help in developing an automotive application of the Xbox’s Kinect motion control system, something the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may or may not take issue with in its quest to curb distracted driving.
According to a job listing posted by Microsoft, we may soon see Xbox Kinect integration in cars, reports Wired magazine’s Autopia blog. The job description reads, "For the next generation of Connected Car Platform, we plan to leverage the full power of the Microsoft ecosystem including Kinect, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Live, Bing, Azure, and Tellme." But before you jump to any conclusions about the idea of an Xbox gaming accessory in your car, it's unlikely drivers will have the ability to play video games using that control scheme. Kinect is a motion sensing device compatible with some Xbox games, and automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have expressed interest in integrating such technology into new cars, according to Autopia.
The job description further reads, "The new Connected Car will know its riders, and will interact with them naturally via speech, gestures, and face tracking." Microsoft showed off an example of this tech when the company teamed up with West Coast Customs to build a teched-out Mustang, which included two Kinect controllers that could sense motion and objects around the car, and a heads-up display showing Bing maps with turn-by-turn directions.
It comes as no surprise that Microsoft is working on this cutting-edge tech. It's been a pioneer in automotive applications, with more of its recent work including Ford's Sync system, Kia's UVO infotainment system, and Fiat's Blue&Me in-car entertainment and navigation. But with Apple now gaining a foothold in the mobile infotainment arena, it’s not the only player in the industry.
What do you think of the idea? Will this be another headache for NHSTA? Or is gesture-based control technology is the way of the future?