It’s amazing to think what microchips in cars are responsible for. Not only do they perform surprisingly important functions, they can be found everywhere in the modern-day car. Read on to find out exactly what role the humble microchip plays in making your ŠKODA work.

Microchips in cars have become a topic of regular discussion in recent times. The global semiconductor shortage continues to squeeze the supply of microchips used extensively in vehicles. This, in turn, has created a supply and demand imbalance for new vehicles that ŠKODA is actively working to address.

With the humble microchip the centre of such attention, now is a good time to find out what purpose car microchips serve and what kind are used.

Marek Jancák, Head of Car Production at ŠKODA, says microchips in general take many forms and this is also true for microchips used in vehicles.

“They can be very simple components containing a single transistor, but they can also be intricate integrated circuits controlling a complex system,” Jancák says.

Almost all types of microchips are found in ŠKODA vehicles, except perhaps the most powerful ones. “Due to the decentralised design of modern cars, the microchips used 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,” Jancák explains.

LED lights and the importance of car microchips

In ŠKODA vehicles, microchips take care of a number of functions. For example, the LED elements in LED headlights and tail lights are themselves microchips — every single diode is a chip that also emits light. LED headlights alone account for hundreds of chips in cars today. These chips are, in turn, managed by control units to make them function.

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

According to Jancák, the microchips that manage engine emissions or electricity consumption from an electric car battery are some of the most crucial ones in today’s cars. The number of more complex and sophisticated chips in a car can actually run into the several dozen.

“In fact, without chips, the cars of today would never actually get anywhere,” he explains.

Car microchips also enable vehicles to meet increasingly stringent safety requirements. Airbags, seatbelt tensioners, ABS and stabilisation systems and various advanced assistance systems – none of these can work without chips.

“It’s important to mention that we place extreme emphasis on ensuring these systems are fail-safe,” Jancák says. “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.”

 Car manufacturers all over the world have been affected by the current semiconductor shortage – and ŠKODA is no exception. ŠKODA is taking active measures to address issues involving semiconductor scarcity and is working towards restoring vehicle production and delivery times to a normal standard.

In the meantime, ŠKODA dealers across Australia have existing stock that is available to buy and that can be collected from a buyer’s preferred dealer. Find out more about the ŠKODA model range here.