According to TrendForce’s latest research, shipments of Mini LED backlit automotive display modules are estimated to total around 140,000 units this year because of their use by European, Chinese, and US carmakers. Therefore, 2022 can be considered as the inaugural year for the adoption of Mini LED backlit displays in the automotive industry. Next year, European and US carmakers are expected to gradually introduce this display technology to more of its vehicle models. Hence, shipments of Mini LED backlit automotive display modules are forecasted to total 450,000 units for 2023. However, 2024 will be the year when shipments will take off even more dramatically. By then, the further technological maturation of Mini LED backlight will attract the late adopters among carmakers. Shipments of Mini LED backlit automotive display modules are thus forecasted to total almost 1 million units for 2024.
TrendForce points to four factors that draw carmakers’ attention to Mini LED backlit displays. First, Mini LED backlight offers multiple dimming zones that can raise the brightness of a display above 1,000 nits. High brightness is especially important for automotive applications because it helps minimize glare from the outside environment. For instance, the strong light reflected from the snow or emanating from the sun can interfere with the driver’s viewing of various displays inside an operating vehicle and thereby create safety risks. Increasing display brightness mitigates this problem.
Second, a direct-lit backlight solution featuring Mini LEDs can turn individual sections of a screen on or off selectively in accordance with the distribution of the light and dark parts of an image. With the traditional edge-lit solution, the entire screen is lit all the time. Carmakers can thus leverage Mini LED backlight to meet their energy saving requirements as a display system can consume around 10% less power by incorporating this technology.
Third, the development of automotive interior displays is trending towards larger sizes and integration. Direct-lit Mini LED solutions support not only the ongoing increase in display size but also the optical performance enabled by highly curved displays. Compared with the traditional edge-lit solutions, direct-lit Mini LED solutions offer a better performance for curved automotive displays and are suitable for a wide range of automotive interior displays that differ in size and design.
Lastly, Mini LEDs are as highly reliable as conventional LEDs. Hence, they are expected to be the first choice for display backlight among carmakers.
As mentioned above, the advantages of direct-lit Mini LED solutions over edge-lit solutions include overall brightness, contrast, power consumption, support for the optical performance of a curved display, etc. Apart from these performance gains, Mini LED backlit displays are also much more reliable than OLED displays for automotive applications. Priced between traditional edge-lit displays and OLED displays, Mini LED backlit displays deliver a superior cost-to-performance ratio. Taking account of these benefits, carmakers are expected to be much more enthusiastic on using Mini LED backlit displays in the future.
Among carmakers, China’s Nio and Roewe have adopted Mini LED backlit display this year. They applied this solution first to the dashboard display that has high requirements for performance. Then, they applied it to the central information display (CID) and panel for A/C and volume controls. Turning to US carmaker GM, it has offered a 33.4-inch automotive display system with Mini LED backlight. This system reflects the trend towards larger sizes and integration as it combines the dashboard display and CID.
Looking at the supply chain for Mini LED backlit automotive displays, Chinese carmakers have adopted automotive display systems that comprise Mini LED backlit display modules from BOE. As for European and US carmakers, they use Mini LED backlit display modules from AUO and Innolux. Regardless of suppliers, display modules are delivered to Tier-1 integrators such as Bosch and CarUx so they can be assembled into display systems. Then, display systems are sent to car assembly plants for vehicle installation.
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