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Hyundai reportedly uses appliance ICs on cars

According to The Elec, Hyundai has started testing ICs for home appliances on vehicles, attempting to replace car chips with IC controllers used in home appliances.

Sources at suppliers said it is the carmaker's responsibility to produce safe cars and they have the power to decide what components they use in the cars. Although Hyundai has made the first move, other carmakers do not seem likely to follow suit. Most of them choose to tackle the IC shortages simply by reducing the number of chips used in cars, sources said.

According to media reports, Hyundai's plan is to replace the car chips that power accessory functions, instead of those used in the main system.

Sources at suppliers said although carmakers usually require chip suppliers to get ISO-certified, carmakers can decide whether they want to use different chips. There are a few factors that could keep other carmakers from using home appliance chips.

First, changes to accessory functions, such as headlights and taillights, could still affect car safety. Sources said that even though lighting systems are not part of the ADAS system, illumination is crucial to driving safety and for ADAS sensors to detect objects.

Appliance chips are also less resistant to heat, impact, and vibration with shorter durability, which might undermine safety in the long term. Any carmakers would want to avoid jeopardizing customers safety or needing to recall their products. Recall is not only costly but as damaging to brand reputation, said sources. No major carmakers could afford taking a misstep after being hit by the pandemic and being swamped by the rise of EVs and startup EV makers.

In contrast, startup EV makers tend to either change car designs or change to alternative semiconductors to accommodate to the ongoing reality of IC crunch.