Center stack displays have developed from the early days of a small screen with a few keys and arrows to becoming the main way of displaying important vehicle information to drivers and passengers. The center stack display may contain a wide range of interactive content, like navigation, cabin temperature controls, and music or entertainment information.


This display typically receives input from the header panel, which is directly connected to the high-speed interface. These displays have a complementary technology that enables, integrates, and facilitates immersive user experience with vehicle displays without being a driver distraction.

What is a center stack display?

The center stack display of the automobile applies to the control-bearing surfaces in the middle of the front of the interior of the engine. The term applies to the field that begins in and continues below the dashboard which sometimes merges with the transmission tunnel that passes between the front driver's seat and the passenger seat in many vehicles. Traditionally, vehicles with a gear rod have placed this control where the two console and tunnel areas merge, or at the rear-most end of the console, in front-wheel-drive vehicles with no transmission tunnels.

In certain modern vehicles – in particular vans – the gear stick is mounted on the front, the more vertical portion of the center console to be within greater control of the driver without having a long stalk mounted on the steering column. Center consoles increasingly have a wide variety of storage compartments and cup holders, some of them with a microwave, in addition to the more conventional usage of an instrumentation surface ( e.g. outside temperature display) and control (car audio).

Why a vehicle’s center stack is better than a smartphone?

Recent advances in connected and self-driving cars have contributed to the common idea that the future car would be a 'smartphone on wheels.' Tesla highlights this term with an iPad-like dashboard that allows users to turn on in-vehicle applications by pushing a button. The rest of the automobile industry has started to catch up and exploit vehicle-generated data and artificial intelligence and improve consumer service by making it seamless and intuitive.

The smartphone has become the focus of our lives, whether it's to stay linked with family and friends, book a ride, keep track of our well-being, or access smart plugs around the home. With popular customer demand, the integration of the smartphone into the vehicle has become a top priority for almost every automaker. Vehicles should be just as smart and wired as smartphones are today.

The trend of flexible center stack displays for automotive

The trend towards greater connectivity and automation in the vehicle is increasing the focus and value of the HMI. Up until now, the HMIs have been highly concentrated on the driver, with virtually no control available until passengers. For the future, a much greater proportion of the interior surfaces of the car will become digital and the surface area dedicated to screens in the interior of the vehicle is now growing rapidly.

Displays for increased safety

Usually, these displays would have to conform naturally to the curved surfaces of the car and be discrete when not showing information. They would also need to be both non-rectangular and non-flat. For example, a curved display of the A-pillar of the car will show the driver what is behind the pillar. Curved displays can also be used as 'digital' side-view mirrors (in conjunction with cameras)-they can improve protection by widening the field of view as well as adding to fuel economy compared to external side-view mirrors.

Displays for infotainment

Most of the cars produced in the last decade feature a flat, rectangular satnav or infotainment screen that occupies the center console. These displays are now ubiquitous in the newest generation of cars and are getting bigger and bigger. The dominant active matrix display technology in vehicles is LCD made of glass. These glass LCDs are often the only flat surfaces left in the car, disturbing the form and function of interior space and limiting designer ergonomic options. Replacing these flat panel displays with screens that can suit the vehicle's interior shape and curves would allow them to integrate seamlessly and enhance the esthetics of the car interior.

Emerging trends in the center stack display industry:

Increasing demand for gesture control

The demand for gesture recognition systems in the automotive industry is being increased by the awareness about regulations and driver safety. Similarly, increasing demand for new tech-based applications claims to support market growth. The gesture interfaces in the vehicle are simple to use and increase protection by reducing the driver's visual demand.

Prototype capacitive proximity sensing and depth camera-based systems show that modern finger and hand gestures can recognize diverse complexities. The next-generation in-car user interface is expected to be management recognition technology. The recognition of gestures determines if the driver has made identifiable hand or finger gestures in an appropriate location without contacting a touch-screen.

Increased demand for advanced infotainment systems

The major democratic technology and skeptics can look no further than the cars of today, which deliver more choices than ever in-car entertainment options. Automotive manufacturers want to append more displays and more functionality to their models, making their trip as simple and enjoyable as possible.

Such devices handle audio and video content and provide alerts and information on traffic conditions and weather forecasts. Advanced in-vehicle infotainment provides information, communication, and entertainment with the help of mobile integration technology. This allows users to connect to their in-car infotainment devices and to use all infotainment mobile services. Furthermore, it also provides navigation and driver assistance through the use of high-performance interfaces like human-machine interfaces (HMI), control units, and operating controls. These innovative technologies have driven the adoption of in-car infotainment and are projected to drive the market in the future.

Car software and electronics architecture

The software relevance in terms of key technology developments is increasing rapidly, as the automotive market is moving from hardware to computer-specific vehicles. Not surprisingly, players across the digital automotive value chain are seeking to capitalize on software and electronics innovations. Software companies and other players in digital technology are leaving their current level two and level three positions as level one provider to mobilize automakers.

By transitioning beyond functionality and apps into operating systems they expand their participation in stack automotive technology. At the same time, traditional tier-one electronic system giants are assertively entering the original feature and app turf in the tech giants, and premium automakers moved further down the stack to secure the essence of their differentiation and technical distinction, such as operating systems, hardware abstractions and signal processing.

Future trends in the center stack display

Vehicle manufacturers are introducing new center stack display technologies that project images from the rear-facing camera, while "heads-up displays"—where displayed photos float on the windshield and give useful detail to the driver — are an exploding market.

Free Valuable Insights: Global Center Stack Display Market to reach a market size of USD 12.2 billion by 2026

In addition, in some versions, digital gauges replace static, physical gauges to create a dynamic screen for exchanging more specific and personalized information. Audi's Virtual Cockpit system is one of the industry's leading projects, although more traditional manufacturers, including Ford and Mazda, have since introduced their digital gage cluster combinations. These gages can offer a better view of vehicle behavior and performance, such as fuel efficiency, and can also include navigation directions.

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