HUD is a head-up display, derived from aviation technology, which can project car-related information in front of the driver's line of sight, thereby reducing the frequency of looking down at the instrument or central control screen during driving. So, its main function is to project key driving information on the windshield glass to reduce the driver's sight dispersion and improve safety.
WHUD Is Currently in the Dominant Position
According to the product form, HUD can be divided into CHUD and WHUD. The biggest difference between the two is that CHUD's projection medium is a transparent Plexiglas display placed above the instrument, while WHUD's projection medium directly uses a special car windshield as the display. Technically, the CHUD optical structure is simple and the design is relatively easy, but its display size and distance are limited, and it may cause secondary damage to the driver when the vehicle collides; the WHUD display effect is more integrated and does not affect the interior of the car. But its optical structure is relatively complicated, and its design and layout are difficult. In terms of cost, CUHD technology is relatively mature, and generally adopts a post-installation program, which is a standard part. In terms of R&D cost, mass production can be realized on a large scale with a one-time investment. The WHUD production process is complex and belongs to the pre-installation program. The model is debugged, so its cost is relatively higher, mainly in mid-to-high-end models. WHUD has become the focus of research and development by major HUD suppliers due to its better display performance and better customer experience. WHUD occupies a leading position in the market. Data shows that the proportion of WHUD and CHUD shipments has always remained at around 7 to 3.
HUD Has Been Tepid in the Automotive Field for Many Years, Due to High Cost and Low Awareness
Then HUD has been introduced into the automotive field for more than 30 years, but it has always been in a tepid, high-pitched, and vacant position. After more than 30 years, HUD has been widely popularized in the civil aviation field, but it has not been able to make a big wave in the automotive industry. It is understood that the current penetration rate of this product in the passenger car pre-installation market is less than 3%, and the after-sales field is not optimistic. For this reason, many industry professionals believe that market awareness and cost are the two core elements that affect the promotion of HUD.
Although HUD appeared earlier, ordinary consumers know little about this technology because of its low configuration rate and most of it is present in high-end cars. As an effective aid to improve driving safety, the selection rate of HUD on high-end models is still relatively high, such as NIO, which has reached more than 60%. However, the number of users of luxury cars is a minority after all. If HUD is to be popularized, more people need to know about it, which was previously lacking. Second, the cost is generally higher. From a consumer's point of view, the current price of HUD products on the market is generally high. It is understood that it costs about 10,000 yuan for BMW to install a HUD. It is not easy to convince them to buy when it is not just needed. From the perspective of car companies, HUD products are technically difficult, development costs and material costs are high, and the lack of market consumption power is bound to affect the investment confidence of car companies. Therefore, although HUD is good in every way, it is costly and not rigidly required. If there is no certain market guidance and education, the product value is not recognized by consumers, and the market situation is difficult to break.
However, when the market was almost silent, the wind direction suddenly changed. In the past two years, car companies have paid more and more attention to HUD.
Automobile Intelligence Calls HUD
The HUD market has seen a significant turnaround around 2018. Since then, as car companies pay more attention, the product deployment rate in mass-produced models has continued to increase. In recent years, based on the development of artificial intelligence technology, intelligent networked cars are rapidly penetrating. Data shows that the penetration rate of new intelligent network models reached 31.1% in 2018, an increase of nearly 5 times compared with 2016. HUD is an important window for human-computer interaction with ADAS functions. In addition to visually presenting information about the instrument and the central control screen on the windshield, it can also transmit some alarm and driving assistance information to the driver as soon as possible. To a certain extent, it meets the improvement of the interactive experience of smart cars. HUD is required for safety, and high hopes are placed due to the arrival of the wave of automobile intelligence. Therefore, the re-appearance of HUD is not a groundbreaking attack but a call of the times.
Technological Advances in Optical Components Drive HUD Costs Down
As HUD core component suppliers make breakthroughs in related technologies such as projection chips, glass, and light sources, it is expected to drive the cost of HUD down. Various optical projection component suppliers continue to optimize projection technology solutions. Glass suppliers are also vigorously developing special glass with high quality and low price. Some manufacturers have also developed special optical films with high transmittance and the cost can be reduced by about 90% compared with the same degree of special glass optimization technology. It can be seen that with the gradual maturity of supply-side related technologies in recent years, the cost of HUD has also shown a downward trend. Data shows that the average price of WHUD has dropped from US$265 in 2016 to US$245 in 2020, and the average price of CHUD has fallen from US$50 in 2016 to US$38 in 2020.
Hud Market Is Highly Concentrated
Looking at the global and Chinese HUD markets, the industry competition pattern is highly concentrated. The leading global automotive HUD companies are mainly Nippon Seiki, Continental AG, DENSO CORPORATION, Visteon, BOSCH, and the industry is highly concentrated. In 2019, the top four suppliers of China's passenger car HUD market share are Denso Corporation, Nippon Seiki, Visteon, and Continental AG. The four giants have almost monopolized China's passenger car HUD market.
Under the Price Advantage, Domestic Substitution Is the General Trend
Relatively speaking, domestic companies started relatively late, more than they began to get involved around 2014. In recent years, domestic HUD leaders have accelerated technological research and development, and have continuously narrowed the product gap with foreign leaders. At the same time, thanks to the low domestic raw material prices and high input-output ratio engineer dividends, domestic leaders can effectively reduce design and production costs and obtain price advantages. Therefore, domestically-made HUDs can reach lower prices under the premise of passing the quality, which makes automakers tend to choose domestic suppliers. It is expected that in the future, domestic HUD leaders will continue to enhance their international competitiveness and achieve a breakthrough in the front-mounted HUD market.
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