In an effort to fight the ongoing global chip shortage, chipmaker GlobalFoundries and the Ford Motor Firm have introduced a “strategic collaboration” as we speak, each by way of press release and protection in The Wall Street Journal. The “non-binding settlement,” in keeping with the discharge, “opens the door” for GlobalFoundries to ship extra chips to Ford within the short-term, whereas promising collaboration on future chips for automobiles.
“These may embody semiconductor options for ADAS, battery administration methods, and in-vehicle networking for an automatic, related, and electrified future,” the discharge reads. “GF and Ford additionally will discover expanded semiconductor manufacturing alternatives to assist the automotive trade.”
This all sounds promising, although the press launch would not really commit both firm to any particular actions. When contacted for info on extra particulars, Ford spokesperson Jennifer Flake reiterated that this was “an settlement to work collectively on the areas referred to as out within the launch,” however had no additional info to share.
Automakers have been hit hard by the chip shortage, stemming partly from enterprise selections made early within the COVID-19 pandemic. Anticipating lowered demand, automakers in the reduction of their chip orders, and chipmakers in flip lower chip manufacturing. However demand for brand spanking new autos (and every kind of products) has surged again extra shortly than anticipated, and automakers who lower their orders have discovered themselves behind a protracted line ready for extra chips.
The outcomes have been far-reaching. A Detroit Free Press piece from April of 2021 confirmed a car parking zone stuffed with Ford F-150s ready for chips however in any other case totally assembled. Chip shortages have slowed or halted production at many car factories this year, and a brief provide of recent automobiles has had intensive knock-on results, driving up the costs of the whole lot from automobile leases to used automobiles.
If the settlement between Ford and GlobalFoundries to develop future chips bears fruit, it could be one more instance of an organization selecting to design its personal purpose-built chips relatively than counting on general-purpose chips made by the likes of Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia, or MediaTek. Apple is maybe the highest-profile instance, because of the Apple Silicon chips that have replaced Intel’s in recent Macs. However Google has additionally created its own chip for its newest Pixel flagship telephones, and Amazon has been deploying its own chips in its servers to enhance the efficiency and capabilities of the Alexa voice assistant. Intel, which for many years has solely manufactured its personal chips in its factories, is even making moves to open up manufacturing facility capability for different firms that wish to manufacture their very own designs.