Volkswagen introduced the Golf R Touch, a concept car with a cockpit that relies (only a little bit ironically) on touchless gestural interfaces for control.
(VW Golf R Touch with gesture control)
The Volkswagen Golf R Touch concept vehicle, displayed for the first time, features an infotainment system that incorporates gesture control as the next step in the area of intuitive control. All it takes is a hand movement in the space in front of the Golf’s infotainment display to make human and machine interact as one. Volkswagen is thereby extending touchscreen operation into a third dimension.
The development team for the Golf R Touch pursued the goal of producing an interior and infotainment concept that would fulfill seemingly contradictory requirements. Despite the continually growing complexity and number of functions, this concept was intended to reduce driver distractions while attaining maximum personalization and intuitive operation in the car. The vehicle was created in which nearly all controls are implemented via touchscreens and sensor switches. Therefore, the Golf R Touch is equipped with three displays: the 12.8-inch high-resolution infotainment system touchscreen; a Control Center (8.0-inch with touch feedback) arranged beneath it to control vehicle, climate control and media functions; and an Active Information Display (digitalized instruments, 12.3-inch). The layouts of the central touchscreen and the Active Info Display can be customized rapidly, just as on a smartphone or tablet today. The same is true of the entire color staging in the interior.
Gesure-recognition by machines is a familiar idea to anyone who has read Douglas Adams' 1979 novel Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope.
(Read more about Adam's gesture control)
Update: Here's a science-fictional example of a gesture-controlled aircraft from the series Earth: Final Conflict (starts about thirty seconds into the clip):
After arriving on Earth, the Taelons (also known as the Companions) entered into a partnership with the Human race and one of the many recruited into their service due to her extensive experience as a Marine pilot was Captain Lili Marquette (Played by Lisa Howard). Lili was an ergonomic prodigy that not only redesigned elements from the internal shuttle structure, she most importantly created a holographic gesture control shield interface which allowed humans to fly Taelon Shuttles. Consequently, Lili leveraged her position, knowledge and experience to create the Official Taelon Shuttle pilot certification program for humans. The Taelon shuttles can travel in both normal and inter-dimensional space.
(Earth: Final Conflict)