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Automotive touch screen shipments to top 50 million units in 2017, IHS says

With consumers already accustomed with using smartphones and tablet PCs in their everyday lives, touch screens are now increasingly making their way into vehicles, too. Automotive touch panel shipments are expected to top 50 million units in 2017, up 11% from 45 million units in 2016, according to IHS Markit.

More importantly, capacitive-touch screen shipments are forecast to surpass that of traditionally-dominated resistive-touch screens in vehicles in 2017, said IHS.

"Projected capacitive-touch technology is commonly found in consumer smartphones and tablet PCs, which consumers have grown very comfortable using," said Shoko Oi, senior display analyst at IHS Markit. "Although there are safety concerns about operating touch screens while driving, automotive touch panels are becoming a standard feature in new vehicles entering the market."

Automotive screens now display content from a variety of sources coming from both inside and outside the car. However, many newer applications now require touch screen panels, which shifts the role of in-car displays from simply revealing information visually to becoming an actual human-machine interface. This shift, along with the increased volume of displayed data, is driving a growing need for easy-to-see designs of displays that incorporate larger sizes, non-rectangular or curved shapes, as well as higher resolutions.

As vehicle models are updated, projected capacitive-touch technology is replacing resistive-touch technology as the mainstream touch solution for automotive displays despite the higher module costs, IHS indicated.

"The latest trends towards connected cars and telematics are prompting more car manufacturers to consider the adoption of projected capacitive-touch screens that can provide a similar user experience found in touch displays of smartphones and tablet-PCs," Oi said.