Flexible displays for automotive

Flexible displays bring outstanding opportunities for automotive interior design.

Vehicle centre console with curved displayProgress toward connected cars and autonomous vehicles is leading to the evolution of the vehicle Human Machine Interface (HMI). Now a much greater proportion of the car’s interior surfaces can become interactive. The HMI today is already responsible for addressing the information, communication and entertainment needs of the passengers, while also meeting safety requirements. With the gradual transition to self-driving cars, the HMI is undergoing a change too both in terms of design and function.

Demand for flexible displays

In order to respond to the HMI evolution, displays will play an ever more important role for creating a customisable, personalisable and safer car interior. IHS Markit forecasts that the market global revenue from automotive display systems will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 11% to $18.6 billion by the end of 2021 driven by connectivity, infotainment and safety.

Flexible displays have the potential to create a design revolution in cars that won’t be limited to the dashboard and the centre console. There are many new applications that displays can address as they become thin, light, shatterproof and conformable to any surface.

Displays for increased safety

Invisible A-pillar conceptThese displays will typically need to conform naturally to the curved surfaces of the car and be unobtrusive when not displaying information. Often they will need to be non-rectangular as well as non-flat. For example, a curved display on the A-pillar of the car can replace the wing mirror (for increased aero dynamic efficiency) or show the driver what is behind the pillar (for increased safety).

FlexEnable provided a conformable OLCD for Yanfeng Automotive Interiors’ XiM17 autonomous vehicle interior concept that made its world debut at the 2017 North American Auto Show in Detroit. The 12.1” display has been incorporated into the car’s A-pillar to allow for greater visibility and safety.

Proliferation of displays through the car interior

OLCD panel car interiorAs touch screens are now increasingly making their way into vehicles there is a growing need for incorporating more and larger sizes of displays as well as irregular and curved displays. IHS Markit estimates that centre stack and instrument cluster display systems will exceed 60 million units by 2021. This poses a design challenge as to how these displays will be seamlessly incorporated into a car’s interior. Plastic displays will be preferred over glass-based displays because they can conform to the vehicle interior curves and avoid crash safety issues with glass.


Conformable OLCD for automotive applications

Glass-free, organic LCD (OLCD) technology developed by FlexEnable is a unique and compelling choice for low-cost, conformed and shaped displays in vehicles.

Some of the benefits of this technology for automotive include:

  • The lowest cost flexible display technology today
  • Uses an already qualified frontplane technology (LCD)     
  • Enables ultra-bright displays for viewing in daylight conditions without reducing display lifetime
  • Fully industrialised for volume production of EPD displays
  • Utilised in products for consumer electronics 
  • Compatible with existing Flat Panel Display (FPD) manufacturing equipment

FlexEnable can provide prototype OLCDs to automotive partners for integration in new car designs.

For more information, please contact us at info@flexenable.com.