We're all trying to touch things and each other a lot less because of covid-19, and Jaguar Land Rover has an interesting new solution for that in cars: no-touch touchscreens.
The so-called contactless touchscreen uses "predictive touch" to work out what you were going to press and activate it for you. Obviously, this isn't wildly different from gesture tech which has existed for ages, but Jaguar Land Rover says it's more intuitive: "predictive Touch will detect intention to operate using the screen layout and finger trajectory."
So, basically, pointing at the screen.
According to the company's lab tests, the new tech reduces the time and effort required by about half, and it helps drivers keep their eyes on the road. We're not entirely sure about that last bit – based on our interactions with Alexa, autocorrect and other predictive tech, frantically pointing at something while the screen does something else entirely could potentially be more distracting than just whacking a button.
Also, we rarely manage to hit touchscreen buttons exactly right anyway – hover-pointing at them from a distance away while driving actually sounds like the sort of thing you win £100,000 for on a gameshow.
While we're being grumpy cynics, we're far from convinced that refraining from touching the touchscreen makes much difference to whether people sharing a car will get covid from each other, but we guess every little bit helps.
Unsurprisingly, Jaguar didn't manage to invent and create this tech unbelievably fast in response to the pandemic – it's been working on predictive touch for at least five years. It just happens to have a handy news hook now.