BMW CES 2016 AirTouchBMW will reveal a new forward-looking Vision Car concept at CES 2016 that debuts new contactless touchscreen technology it’s calling AirTouch.

This allows screens to be operated in the same way as a touchscreen – without actually having to touch the screen.

A step on from the Gesture Control seen in the new BMW 7 Series (first previewed at CES 2015), AirTouch uses sensors in the dashboard that, BMW says, permit three-dimensional control.

“A movement of the hand or a gesture activates the surfaces on the large panorama display,” explains the firm – and in the teaser image above, suggests this will be an extra infotainment screen mounted on the passenger side of the dashboard. It’s in addition to the familiar driver-focused central iDrive screen.

AirTouch appears to get round the slightly awkward situation of today’s infotainment tech being based around touchscreens… but BMW’s interiors not being optimised for them.

The brand appears unwilling to change its interior architecture to put the screens within reach of hands: AirTouch instead allows touch-style control without spoiling its design philosophy.

It’s not completely touch-free either. BMW says the Vision Car has a small button on the left rim of the steering wheel, and an additional one on the passenger sill. Both allow inputs to be confirmed.

BMW will reveal more about AirTouch in its CES 2016 showcase next week in Las Vegas. The firm is already hinting that this new tech will be just a small part of the forward-looking tech extravaganza coming to its new Vision Car concept…