Lights, seat belts, radio, ABS… Where can you find chips in a car?

Lights, seat belts, radio, ABS... Where can you find chips in a car?

You can’t make a modern car without chips. They can be found literally everywhere in the car and sometimes have surprisingly important functions. But it can also be surprising what basic functions chips are also responsible for. Take a look at some of the chips found in a car.

7. 1. 2022 Škoda World Innovation & technology

Chips in cars have become a hot topic recently. So now is a good time to find out what purpose chips serve in cars and what kind of chips are used.

“Chips in general take many forms and this is also true for chips used in cars. They can be very simple components containing a single transistor, but they can also be intricate integrated circuits controlling a complex system,” explains Marek Jancák, head of car production at ŠKODA. 

Almost all types of chips are found in the Czech carmaker’s vehicles, except perhaps the most powerful ones. “Due to the decentralised design of modern cars, the chips for control units, for example, do not have the same level of performance as in computers or high-end mobile phones. There’s no need for it,” says Jancák.

Chips make light work of LEDs

In ŠKODA cars, chips take care of many functions. For example, the LED light elements are themselves chips: every single diode is a chip that also emits light. The LED headlights alone account for hundreds of chips in cars today. The number of more complex and sophisticated chips in a car runs into several dozens. The headlights we just mentioned, for example, need control units to make them function. 

Listen to the Simply Clever Podcast with Marek Jancák on the topic of chips:

According to Jancák, the chips that manage engine emissions or electricity consumption from an electric car battery are some of the most crucial ones in today’s cars.“ In fact, without chips, the cars of today would never actually get anywhere,” he explains. 

Chips also enable cars to meet increasingly stringent safety requirements. Airbags, seatbelt tensioners, ABS and stabilisation systems, various advanced assistance systems, even the e-Call “rescue” system – none of this can work without chips. “It is important to mention that we place extreme emphasis on ensuring these systems are fail-safe. While some system failures in mobile phones and computers are little more than an annoyance, in cars they simply can’t be allowed to happen,” Marek Jancák stresses. 

Connecting the door control unit cables 

Chips are also required for various pieces of convenience-enhancing and practical car equipment. These include the radio and the entire on-board system with touchscreen, as well as air conditioning and other elements.

Related Stories Based on tags: 2022, assistance systems, Innovations, production, Technology