2005 Vehicle Displays Symposium

by Robert L. Donofrio
Director, Metropolitan Detroit Chapter

The Metropolitan Detroit Chapter of the Society for Information Display hosted its 13th Annual Symposium on Vehicle Displays on October 6 and 7, 2005, at the Fairlane Conference Center at the University of Michigan at Dearborn in Dearborn, Michigan. This year's Symposium, sponsored by Denso International America, was a professional-level conference with topics that included market analysis, basic research, applications, human factors, communications, computer software, and electronics, and their progress toward automotive applications. Approximately 100 persons attended this year's Symposium.

There was an international flavor to the 2005 Symposium, as papers from France and Japan were included among the 18 papers presented during six sessions. In addition, an exhibition featuring 14 companies showcased automotive-related products. The following is a summary of the contents of the Proceedings.

Keynote Address

Jim Buczkowski, Director of Electrical and System Engineering at Ford Motor Co., delivered the keynote address, "The Role of Displays in Personalizing the Automotive Experience." He pointed out how the color of lighting is used to personalize an automobile and to create brand recognition for Ford. He also gave an overview of trends for the size and location of various displays used in auto-mobiles, such as driver information, navigation, and rear-seat entertaining.

Technical Sessions

Session 1, "Market Analysis," chaired by Silviu Pala of Denso International America, featured market analyses of displays used in automobiles by Barry Young of DisplaySearch, Inc., and Vinita Jakhanwal of iSuppli Corp. Young explained that the demand for automotive displays is tied to the approximately 60 million automobiles sold worldwide annually, and that the aftermarket need for 6.5–7-in. displays is strong, comprising 70% of the market.

Session 2, "Human Factors," consisted of presentations from Dr. Vivek Bhise of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, who also chaired the session, on "The Location of Infotainment Displays in Automobiles," and Hongyi Cai (a graduate student under the supervision of Dr. Paul Green of the University of Michigan) on "A Review of Character-Height Equations for Vehicle Displays."

Session 3, "Automotive Display Solutions," was chaired by Mark Larry from Ford Motor Co. Jim Niemczyk of American Panel Corp. presented a paper on an integrated-heater EMI-shield temperature sensor in an active-matrix liquid-crystal-display (AMLCD) panel.

That paper was followed by a paper by Paul Weindorf of Visteon Corp., who discussed the lifetime of organic light-emitting-diodes (OLEDs) for automotive applications. The last paper of the session was given by John Cramer of OSRAM Semiconductors, who examined polymer-OLED (PLED) displays. After the talks, there was a panel discussion on the progress of vehicle-display performance over the past 10 years, and some recent data from Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) on the aging of PLEDs was presented by this writer.

Day 2 of the Symposium began with Session 4, "Analysis Tools and Techniques," chaired by Brian Dehmlow of Yazaki America, Steven Stringfellow of General Motors discussed glare and the software that General Motors uses in the early stages of vehicle design. The software is used to predict possible problems with glare and then makes modifications to the design to solve them. The next paper was a modeling and simulation paper presented by Optis (France and Canada) on the application of its SPEOS software to automobiles. The final paper, by Radiant Imaging on FPD testing, reviewed a recent technique developed jointly with Philips that utilizes a charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera, a diffuse hemisphere, and a convex mirror to obtain angular information from an LCD.

Session 5, "New Developments in Vehicle FPDs," was chaired by Dr. John Troxell from Delphi. It started with a talk by Optrex on their "Transmart" display, a semi-transparent light-scattering device tentatively designed to replace the head-up display (HUD). The next paper, from Gunnar Klick of OSRAM Opto Semiconductor, covered backlighting an LCD with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The third paper was presented by Noritake on a high-brightness active-matrix vacuum fluorescent display (VFD), capable of very high luminance, for driver-information-center or HUD applications. The final talk of this session was presented by Dr. Jeff Sampsell of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc., who discussed a novel large-area direct-view display using an etalon-grating concept with a MEMS technology referred to as iMOD.


Chapter Chair Silviu Pala presents the SID 2005 Metropolitan Detroit Chapter Service Award to Dr. John Troxell.


Session 6, the final formal session, "Beyond the Glass Panel," was chaired by Dr. Jerzy Kanicki of the University of Michigan. The first talk was given by Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) and Princeton University. Dr. Vincent Cannella of ECD discussed the flexible metal substrate that can be used for AMOLED displays. Dr. Kanicki gave the next talk on a-Si:H TFT AMOLEDs that are fabricated in his lab. The third paper was given by Robert Beilby of Xilinx, who discussed the applicability of FPGAs to automotive displays. The final paper of the session was presented by Yijian Shi of SRI International, who discussed the cavity light-emitting diode (CLED), which is mechanically stronger and more efficient than standard OLEDs and can operate at a higher current density.

Chapter Service Award

The Chapter General Meeting was held as part of the Luncheon on October 6. Here, the election of officers was announced, and the Chapter Service Award for 2005 was presented by Chapter Chair Silviu Pala to Dr. John Troxell of Delphi. The Award consists of a $500 stipend and a plaque in recognition of the many years of service Troxell has given to the Chapter. In 1987, Troxell was one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Detroit Chapter. He has been very active as Chapter Vice Chair and has been on the program committee and a session chair of many symposia.

SAE/SID Meeting

After the Symposium, a joint SID/Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) VFPD meeting took place, where ISO 15008 (Display Legibility) and SAE J1757 (VFPD metrology) were discussed. The meeting featured a debate between participants from BMW, Ford, GM, DCA, Scania, Delphi, Denso, and Yazaki on proper measurement of high-ambient display performance.

For more information on the Vehicle Symposium, visit www.sidchapters.org/metrodetroit/Events.html.

To submit news from your SID chapter, please e-mail Robert L. Donofrio at donofrio@displayconsultants.com. •