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Panel makers to add sensors, IVI to in-car displays

More and more new vehicles are equipped with smart cockpits as e-mobility takes off. According to data from Sigmaintell, total shipments of in-car displays are expected to grow 22% yea-on-year to 164 million sheets in 2021.

Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) said smart cockpit has three use cases: data processing through voice- and gesture-sensing, communication with other vehicles, and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI).

ITRI projects that in-car screen shipments will continue growing at a CAGR of 5.8% by 2027 as each use case requires advanced in-car screens to carry out. Shipments by 2024 could break 200 million sheets and reach 231 million sheets by 2027.

The importance of in-car screens increases as electric cars and self-driving cars gain popularity. High-definition, large-size screens are coming to the center stage, which extends from the driver's seat to the front passenger's seat.

In response to rising demand, panel suppliers are digging the technologies for in-car screens, including TFT-LCD, miniLED backlights, OLED, and microLED panels. PlayNitride has developed 7.56-inch microLED panels, while AU Optronics (AUO) offers 9.4-inch flexible in-car microLED display and 30-inch curved display for car use. And Innolux, who just unveiled the very first integrated cockpit display system (ICDS), has developed 12.3-inch dashboard with built-in sensors.

Smart cockpit is going to become the third living space for drivers. There will be more sensors, cameras, microphones to monitor the driver and the backseat/cabin. The new trend represents opportunities for the supply chain to restructure. From providing merely panels for the tier-1 suppliers to adding sensors or developing infotainment systems, panel makers are expected to score higher profits from the e-mobility trends.