Chip Controlled Cars
Timothy Boyer's picture

Making Sense of Microchips and Sensors in Cars

Here’s a must-see video that talks plainly and clearly about why we have so many sensors installed in today’s cars, what they do, and why this is a good thing.
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A Must-See Video About Your Car’s Sensors

One advent of the chip shortage is that it has raised awareness of just how dependent today’s modern car is on computer/sensor control. Today’s modern vehicle has over 100 sensor modules, each of which contains multiple microchips bringing the roughly estimated number anywhere between 1,400 to 3,000 chips per vehicle.

In fact, cars of today are often referred to as “computers on wheels” because the list of chip-containing sensors detecting and routing information to the car’s ECU (electronic control unit) is truly remarkable and arguably makes vehicles more electronic than mechanical.

Working together with the ECU, chips are responsible for controlling every system on the car including the electrical system, the powertrain, safety and comfort systems, and the infotainment and connectivity systems. Each system consists of multiple subsystems (power windows, fuel/air mixing, automatic braking, etc.) that most of us take for granted.

And, with the trend to create and add even more safety features to cars, we can expect cars to require even more chip/sensor modules with each new model of car.

Related article: Consumer Reports Best and Worst Car Models with Lane Keeping Assist Systems

Which begs the question: Have we over-engineered the modern car?

Perhaps. However, when you look at the history of the chip in modern cars you will find that there is a good reason for why our vehicles are so chip heavy and that only by switching from electrical-mechanical systems to electronic digital ones were we able to achieve the kind of performance you could not possibly get in a mass-produced car from the 60’s or 70’s.

A Little Appreciation for the Automotive Chip

That said and without further ado, here is a video recently posted by the Scotty Kilmer YouTube channel that takes a look at the development and use of microchips in cars that is sure to help us develop a little appreciation for the automotive chip---even if you are an old timer who longs for the years when tune-ups were something every car owner knew something about.

Related article: Car Tune-Up Truths Car Owners Need to Understand Today

Please note that the time portion of the video related to sensors requires watching only between time point 18:00 to 27:00.

And finally…

For articles about DIY car maintenance and repair you can still do with a modern car, here are a few selected articles for your enjoyment:

DIY Toyota Camry Hybrid Transaxle Fluid Change Demo

Avoid Lube Center Scams with This Mechanic’s Step by Step DIY Oil and Filter Change Demo

Consumer Reports Used Car Fixes: DIY Fix for a Dented Bumper

COMING UP NEXT: A Ford Truck Repair This Mechanic Refused to Do

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pixabay


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