Tesla has confronted the worldwide semiconductor chip shortage head-on by rewriting its own vehicle software in order to maintain high production volume, according to The Verge.
On a company earnings call this week, CEO Elon Musk discussed the approach that enabled Tesla to manufacture more than 200,000 cars within the past three months.
“We were able to substitute alternative chips, and then write the firmware in a matter of weeks. It’s not just a matter of swapping out a chip; you also have to rewrite the software.
Spawned by a convergence of factors tied to the global pandemic and U.S.–China trade war, according to The Independent, the shortage has proven detrimental for automakers, including major corporations like Ford, General Motors, and Toyota. Many were forced to halt production on particular car models, and some factories had to shut down altogether.
Tesla similarly relies on a range of semiconductors to control airbags, seatbelts, and other crucial safety features; it comes as no surprise that Musk should describe one of this year’s greatest challenges as the scramble to build a new module capable of serving the same purpose as the coveted silicon chips.
The company met considerable success nonetheless, reporting more than $1 billion in net profits last quarter. Likely buoyed by the surge in automobile demand observed over the course of the pandemic, Tesla’s future earnings remain contingent on the discovery of an expedient, long-term solution to the shortage.