Connected and autonomous carsInternet of Things – a network of interconnected devices that exchange information and communicate with one another – is penetrating almost every aspect of human life. The automotive industry is not an exception. Nowadays, the majority of cars are equipped with such devices, enabling them to share data originating in the vehicle in return for better insights, such as information about traffic and prevention of breakdowns. Moreover, the connectivity of cars allows automakers to make cars more autonomous. Car manufacturers are increasingly providing cars with features enabling them to act with little or no human intervention, relying on electronic systems to control the car. While there were an estimated 31.4 million autonomous cars worldwide in 2019, their number is projected to reach 54 million in 2024, further driving the demand for automotive electronics.
Global chip shortageWhen the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, automakers were forced to shut down factories to curb the spread of the virus, resulting in a 15-percent decline in car production in 2020. In response, automakers lowered their orders of semiconductors (also known as chips), a building block of any electronic device. At the same time, the demand for consumer electronics surged, leading semiconductor makers to shift production lines and start producing chips for products such as gaming consoles, smartphones, and laptops. Since automotive factories reopened at the end of 2020, they have been struggling to source enough chips to keep their production going. Although semiconductor makers are investing in new manufacturing facilities to meet this rising demand for chips, the global shortage of chips may continue into 2022.
* Carputers are computers specifically designed to be used in cars.