Delphi displays.automotiveIT

At the CES in January, Delphi showed how to spread information across various in-car displays (Photo: Delphi)

The number of in-car displays will rise sharply as infotainment becomes a more important part of the car, Frost & Sullivan said in a report.

The researchers predicted that the market for central displays in Europe alone will more than double to 9.5 million units by 2017 from 4 million units last year. In North America, the market will almost triple to 6 million units from 2.3 million units last year.

Similarly, the market for touch screens will grow to 2 million units from 600,000 last year in Europe. In North America, the forecasters expect 2 million head-up displays to be built into cars in 2017, double the 2011 total.

Head-up displays will go from 270,000 last year in Europe to 500,000 by 2017. In North America, they are expected to rise to 400,000 by 2017 from 150,000 in 2011.

Frost said the growing infotainment needs of drivers will also change the design of in-car screens. Drivers need, "large and intelligent information display systems," to show all the content that's available in the car, said Frost & Sullivan analyst Krishna Jayaraman.

To combat driver distraction, Frost & Sullivan said automakers are trying to strike a balance between providing all relevant information and limiting and prioritizing the content they make available to a driver.

Frost said information will have to be divided over different displays to make it digestible to drivers. Said Jayaraman: "For instance, functions which are vehicle-specific and necessary while driving should be projected on the head-up displays and instrument cluster, while other entertainment features can reside on central displays."