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Back in the days you turned on your car, all that happened was the mechanical system would fire your engine and spin it.

The processor chips that the big and old car manufacturers use in their vehicles are older than the cell phone. They designed their circuit boards for these old chips and have been using them for decades.

The auto industry needs to design new circuit boards for the new chips and replace the antiques. They resist investment and lack “in-house” know-how.

They did the job pretty well. Now, however, the auto industry wants more of those old, obsolete chips. The chip shops, the chip makers, are not interested in investing in the production of obsolete chips. It would be a bad investment in the short term for them.

The average vehicle has a dozen or more simple processors, all programmed to communicate with each other – much like the 1980s, when they first switched to relay chips.

The auto industry needs to design new circuit boards for the new chips and replace the antiques. They resist investment and lack “internal” know-how.

The new way is like Tesla does: one processor that does it all. From transmitting the turn signal “click” on the audio speakers to activating the ABS brakes, one processor does it all. All electrical can be overhauled with central computer programming. (Okay, I lied, the display screens each have an Intel ATOM processor!)

The reason Tesla can continue to produce cars during the chip shortage is that it can replace one insufficient chip with another and simply reprogram the mainframe to the new characteristics of the chip.

Older fossil car makers cannot make this transition without a huge commitment. Besides not having the finances and the know-how to do it, it would take years and involve bringing each vehicle model to the central processor system one by one. Starting to design a car from a clean, modern CAD drawing has huge benefits. And, by the way, some manufacturers proudly advertise that they “now have live updates” – but NOT for all computer chips in the vehicle, just a few.

Manufacturers who can’t or won’t make the transition will back down or fail because the “central processor” design is cheaper to build, cheaper to modify, and may even provide full self-driving software.

Summary of the news:

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