Newer Grades of Display Units to Refashion the Future of ‘Auto-Infotainment’

Aug 02,2019

In recent times, the global automotive industry is in a better shape than it was a few decades ago. As new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), IoT (Internet of Things), and robotics come of age, the automotive industry is expected to see some tectonic shifts and undergo significant transformations in future. When it comes to buying a vehicle, consumers are taking into consideration safety, ease of usage, end-to-end connectivity, and digital features and, accordingly, making purchase decisions. To address the evolving demand for comfort, luxury, safety and security, automotive manufacturers are cracking the innovation code and coming up with advanced versions of central controllers, steering-mounted controls, gesture control systems, infotainment systems, and heads-up displays.

Infotainment has become as important as the overall performance of the vehicle. Accustomed to the idea of consuming both information and entertainment facilitated by multiple screens in their residential settings, consumers seek concerted solutions offering the same functionalities in their personal vehicles as well. In the automotive cockpits of the future, large, flat, and touchscreen monitors that mimic instrument displays, are likely to replace the conventional dashboards. Moreover, in pursuit of creating differentiation, automakers are cramming vehicles with more technologies including high-resolution, large display units, which would stoke the debut of advanced car interiors with the perfect digital displays.

Automotive display units, particularly the center stack and the instrument cluster, are commonly based on thin-film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. Rapid adoption of OLED panels in line with advent of augmented reality (AR) and autonomous vehicles are gradually transforming conventional automotive display units. In modern vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are deemed to ensure vehicle safety by easing the driving experiences and staving off driver inattention or distraction. As vehicles continue to adopt advanced technologies, latest TFT LCDs with microcontrollers are being widely embraced. The multiple-role displays of these LCDs proactively receive commands from the vehicles’ electronic control units (ECU) and process a wide range of signals to intimate drivers regarding the same. In addition, rear-seat entertainment displays are not only becoming larger in size but are also offering a great deal of Blu-ray and internet connectivity for seamless operations. Further, display units with wider viewing angles have started gaining their spaces in cars, for the fact that majority of automakers are leveraging latest technologies, such as In-Plane Switching, to master at creation of highly-functional display units.

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In order to improve customers’ driving experience, leading automakers are directing their investments towards the deployment of revolutionary technologies in their vehicle offerings. For instance, Hyundai Motor, in January 2019, introduced the world’s first holographic AR navigation system on its luxury sedan Genesis G80. Developed in partnership with Switzerland-based startup WayRay, the holographic AR display incorporates ADAS features such as forward collision warnings and lane departure warnings, in addition to projecting navigational alerts through the windshield onto the road.

Much like cell phones are now capable of doing more than just making calls, modern-day vehicles can function beyond ‘driving’, with a wider integration of touch- and voice-based controls conditioning a variety of infotainment and safety features. Consequently, newer models of automotive display units are getting larger and sharper, and will continue to reach new heights as the industry advances towards the trend of ‘fully autonomous’.