This paper describes the current state of touch technology, the range of its applications, and its potential for use in the automotive industry. The implementation of touch input systems in automotive design is in its infancy, but the increasing use of sensor-intensive electronic control and diagnostic systems will necessitate streamlined presentation of diagnostic and safety information and the adaptation of the computer interface to accommodate a worldwide range of users, including users speaking different languages, unfamiliar with computers, and unsophisticated about automobiles. Touch input solves the problem of finding an easy, natural interface to a computer system. Current technology can meet high standards of performance, reliability and durability under harsh environmental conditions; touch systems are rapidly decreasing in cost; and new types of compact flat displays are under development. As a result, touch input has great potential as a desirable and feasible addition to automotive electronics.