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Tesla rewrote its own software to survive the chip shortage

rohiggidy

Member
May 27, 2021
184
165
ny
Tesla rewrote its own software to survive the chip shortage

Tesla is weathering the global chip shortage by rewriting its vehicle software to support alternative chips, CEO Elon Musk said during an earnings call Monday. The shortage has upended the auto industry at a time of historic demand for new cars, leading to factory shutdowns, longer wait times, and higher prices.
“We were able to substitute alternative chips, and then write the firmware in a matter of weeks,” Musk said. “It’s not just a matter of swapping out a chip; you also have to rewrite the software.”
This approach has helped Tesla maintain high levels of production, delivering over 200,000 vehicles to customers over the course of the last three months, the company said. Tesla generated $11.9 billion in revenue in the quarter, including $1.1 billion in profit.

Tesla isn’t alone in feeling the effects of the global shortage. With demand for cars at an all-time high, automakers around the world are feeling the constraints of production with chips in short supply. This week, Daimler and BMW said the lack of chips has forced it to shutdown some of their assembly lines, which will cut the companies’ output by tens of thousands of vehicles.
“THE GLOBAL CHIP SHORTAGE SITUATION REMAINS QUITE SERIOUS”
Musk said that Tesla’s future growth will depend on a swift resolution to the global semiconductor shortage. “The global chip shortage situation remains quite serious,” he said. “For the rest of this year, our growth rate will be determined by the slowest part in our supply chain,” which includes the wide range of chips used in Tesla’s vehicles.
Tesla relies on chips to power everything from its airbags to the modules that control the vehicles’ seatbelts — which now means Tesla is missing components that are essential for the vehicle’s safety features. “A big struggle this quarter was the module that controls the airbags and seatbelts,” Musk said. “And obviously you cannot ship a car without those.”
Musk sounded an uncertain note about the future. “It does seem like it’s getting better,” he said, “but it’s hard to predict.”
 

DaveORD

Member
Mar 12, 2020
832
751
Chicagoland
As are a bunch of other companies like the one I work for. I've been re-hashing code for 3+ months now, finding new micros that are capable and compatible with our products and in sufficient quantities, redesigning the circuit boards to use the new micro and then changing the code to work on the new micro. Royal PITA for me, this was not in the plan and my normal work had to be put on the back burner to make sure we are still manufacturing product to sell. Once you find a suitable replacement in sufficient quantities, it is a race against the world to get your purchasing department to get them ordered and secured before somebody else comes along and grabs them. Too slow and back to square one. Of course a lot of this could have been avoided if our purchasing dept had been proactive when news broke of the shortage and purchased in advance. So yeah, I have a good idea of the shortage pain that Tesla is going through and what has to be done to work around it. Of course they are the 800 lb gorilla compared to my company, so they might get preferential/quicker access to stock that I may never see, if we are looking for the same ICs.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,416
13,229
California
More insight into chip shortage.

Fortune: Chipmakers to carmakers: Time to get out of the semiconductor Stone Age.

Moore’s law of ever-increasing miniaturization seemingly never reached the automotive industry. Dozens of chips found in everything from electronic brake systems to airbag control units tend to rely on obsolete technology often well over a decade old. These employ comparatively simple transistors that can be anywhere from 45 nanometers to as much as 90 nanometers in size, far too large—and too primitive—to be suitable for today’s smartphones.

I’ll make them as many Intel 16 [nanometer] chips as they want,” Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger told Fortune last week during his visit to an auto industry trade show in Germany.

Carmakers have bombarded him with requests to invest in brand-new production capacity for semiconductors featuring designs that, at best, were state of the art when the first Apple iPhone launched


 
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