To say that today’s automobiles are sophisticated would be an understatement of epic proportions. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal – Ford, Other Auto Makers Cut Output, Idle Workers on Chip Shortage – most cars today have a minimum of 40 different chips and sometimes as much as 150 or more for higher-end models. This makes automotive manufacturing the largest consumer of SOCs, rivaling the personal electronics sector. The result… demand that currently cannot keep up with production.

To add to the pressure that chip makers face, there is a zero-defect parts per million (DPPM) design methodology that makers are being held to putting heady requirements on probing and testing. Most of these SOCs face harsh outdoor environments so any testing needs to be done at full thermal range. Needless to say, the challenges are great!

Hirofumi Nagata and Alan Liao gave a presentation on Ultra High Temperature Probe Card Solutions for Automotive IC Testing that covers some of these challenges, including:

  • Testing in a harsh environment
  • Testing at full thermal range
  • Minimizing bond pad reliability impact
  • Supporting large volume demand
  • Lowering test cost

The current automotive SOC chip shortage is caused by a number of factors outside of production test, but tackling the challenges here and improving efficiency will continue to be paramount for meeting demand.