Automotive Touchscreen Market Booming

Date: 11/4/2012

Source: IMS Research

With more and more systems like MyFord Touch being released in the automotive market, touch screens are becoming a common feature in vehicles nowadays. With some of the more advanced systems having comparable functionality to a smartphone, automotive touch screens significantly add to driver satisfaction. IMS Research (now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE:IHS)) has published a new report entitled The World Market for Automotive User Interfaces – 2012. The report forecasts that unit sales of automotive touch screens will increase rapidly in the next eight years to an estimated 35.7 million units globally in 2019.

IMS Research predicts Asia Pacific will see largest growth when compared to other major regions, with approximately 17.9 million automotive touch screens being sold in 2019. However, in reality, not all systems in Asia Pacific or worldwide will offer the level of functionality associated with a smartphone in the short term. Instead, touch screens with basic functionality are also entering the market, such as the entry level head unit on the MK7 Volkswagen Golf. These basic type touch screen head units do not offer dynamic features and functions such as apps and connected services.

With all the safety concerns surrounding touch screens in the vehicle, voice command systems are playing an important role in facilitating some of the more advanced functions. Nimisha Patel, analyst at IMS Research commented, “With voice technologies continuously improving, many vehicle manufacturers are now offering natural language speech recognition to create a Siri like experience in the car.” Vehicle manufacturers are using these improved voice command technologies to enhance the user experience and safety of a touch screen head unit. This is especially true in cases where some content is limited when driving over a certain speed.

In actuality, touch screen systems in the vehicle may offer many smartphone type features and functions but they cannot be operated in the same manner as a smartphone; instead they will have a much more safety-centric user interface. Vehicle manufacturers do not want to limit the dynamic features and functions available on their touch screens, so voice systems allow them to link the user experience of advanced dynamic functionality and content with the touch screen, but in a safe way.

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