Pure play foundry GlobalFoundries (GF) has signed an agreement with Ford Motor Company to boost chip supplies for the automotive giant.
Under the non-binding agreement, GF will help create a further supply of semiconductors for Ford’s current lineup. It also opens the door for joint research and development to support growing demand for chips in the automotive industry. The need for more supply of semiconductors comes at a time when an ongoing chip shortage is affecting automotive OEMs' ability to manufacture a normal supply of vehicles.
More chips are being added to vehicles as technologies emerge for the industry such as vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-everything (V2X), advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and self-driving capabilities. In some cases, automotive OEMs are seeing a doubling of semiconductors being used in vehicles.
GF and Ford will develop chips for:
- Battery management systems
- In-vehicle networking
“It’s critical that we create new ways of working with suppliers to give Ford — and America — greater independence in delivering the technologies and features our customers will most value in the future,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “This agreement is just the beginning, and a key part of our plan to vertically integrate key technologies and capabilities that will differentiate Ford far into the future.”
GM working with seven chipmakers
Meanwhile, General Motors has its own plans to help deal with the ongoing chip shortage as it is working with seven chip suppliers on three new families of microcontrollers. The goal is to reduce the number of unique semiconductors by 95% on future vehicles.
The thinking is if more companies are developing ICs, if one has a manufacturing problem it can be swapped out for one that is not.
The suppliers include:
- ST Microelectronics
- NXP Semiconductors
- ON Semiconductor
Need more chips
The move comes as the semiconductor industry is struggling with an ongoing shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The automotive industry was hit hard by the shortage specifically. When the pandemic first emerged, automakers reduced demand for semiconductors believing demand for cars would falter. When demand emerged despite the pandemic, chip manufacturers had shifted to hot, in-demand products such as consumer electronics and computer systems due to stay-at-home orders.
This caused automotive companies to reduce targets for car shipments and revenues for 2021 and caused some delays or reduction in the number of vehicles that could be produced.