One of the biggest hits of the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was actually a car. As auto makers integrate more electronics into vehicles, the line between consumer electronics and automotive electronics continues to blur.
The focus has now shifted to the Detroit Auto Show, where vehicle performance is enhanced by electronics. One of the key issues in the automotive market is how drivers interface with all these electronics. Human interface platforms, or HMI, include technologies and components such as touch screens, touchpads, head-up displays, haptic feedback, proximity sensing and gesture recognition, according to IHS.
A recent IHS Automotive analysis of user interfaces in future automotive infotainment systems finds increased global commonality and complexity. “All interactions with a device should be fully accessible by all available input technologies and via all available output technologies,” the research firm concludes. This main concept is driving growth for all types of automotive HMI technologies across regions, brands and vehicle segments — through innovation and attention to usability.
Several automotive HMI technologies are forecasted to have 20 percent or greater compound annual growth rates on global sales, according to IHS. Technologies and features developed by automakers and suppliers have heavily focused on designing interfaces that users can understand quickly and operate efficiently. The Multi-Modal Interface Concept is a major growth driver in building new and innovative HMI (human-machine interface) platforms, according to the analysis by IHS Automotive.
Because of this, IHS Automotive is forecasting growth across all HMI input and output categories, with the exception of a few technologies that may eventually become obsolete due to a competing replacement (e.g., resistive touch screens vs. capacitive touch screens).
“Most of these technologies have such significant compound annual growth rates for two reasons – first, they are relatively new to the automotive industry,” said Mark Boyadjis, senior analyst and manager, infotainment and HMI at IHS Automotive. “Also, they provide unique and valuable usability characteristics that make driving and operating infotainment systems easier on consumers.”
Touch technology revived with advent of personal electronics
Touch screens are different in that they have been around for a longer period of time. In fact, some of the first navigation systems available in cars offered touch screen inputs back in the 1990’s. However, with the amplified growth of touch screen smartphones and tablets, IHS Automotive estimates sales of vehicles with touch screen interfaces will grow from 16.7 million units in 2015 to more than 61 million units in 2021.
Meanwhile, center stack display systems are forecasted to surpass 54 million unit sales in 2018, according to IHS, while an increasing number of vehicles will have two or more unique displays in their center stack — for infotainment, HVAC, rear cameras, vehicle diagnostics and more.
Speech recognition to reach all-time highs
IHS Automotive has also tracked the future growth of speech recognition, another HMI component that has been around for many years, and anticipates it will continue to grow through the end of the decade. Sales will reach all-time highs, as emerging markets like Brazil, China and Eastern Europe sell more vehicles with supporting local languages. In addition, while overall sales of vehicles with speech recognition grow, an increasing amount of the speech recognition technology in cars will be located in the cloud. IHS Automotive estimates about 50 percent of all vehicles with speech recognition globally also will offer off-board speech recognition in 2021.
Overall, IHS Automotive anticipates automotive user Interfaces have considerable growth prospects as automakers work to deploy solutions to meet the expectations of their buyers, while keeping them focused on the road at the same time.
Multi-modal HMI design will continue to influence the growth of individual HMI components, giving an even greater opportunity for OEMs to differentiate their products from the competition, according to IHS. Meanwhile, HMI component suppliers are well positioned to profit from this trend and build on industry momentum.
There are also opportunities in the supply chain. “Supply chain solutions are in demand for the automotive industry and their EMS providers,” wrote Smith & Associates’ Jamie Treinen in a recent article in EPS. “On the front lines are the distributors who support automotive manufacturers’ needs for cost savings, VMI programs, enhanced testing capabilities and strict quality assurances. While cost is a hurdle, the central concern for safety and quality is front and center. Understanding the major challenges to automotive manufacturers sheds light on some of the supply chain shifts and the demands that impact purchasing,” he concluded.