Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

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Thread: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

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    Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW
    Self-driving AI sends shivers through traditional supply chains
    by HIDEYOSHI KUME

    TOKYO -- Toyota Motor and Volkswagen each sell 10 million cars, give or take, every year. Tesla delivered about 367,500 in 2019. But when it comes to electronics technology, Elon Musk's scrappy company is far ahead of the industry giants.

    This is the takeaway from Nikkei Business Publications' teardown of the Model 3, the most affordable car in the U.S. automaker's all-electric lineup, starting at about $33,000.
    Now that I got you to look with the click-bait title (stolen directly from the original article), click the link if you'd like s'more.
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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    I won't put much stock in the 6-year lead nonsense but, looking past the sensationalist headline, I think this does highlight a couple of things some of us have been saying for a while.

    One is that Tesla is way more vertically integrated than mainstream automakers are today. Almost like a throwback to another era when automakers did most of the engineering in house. If the suppliers won't deliver what they want (or, I suspect, at the price they want), Tesla seems to bring it in house. That's what they did with everything from the AI computer (after a fallout with MobileEye supposedly on the slow rate of progress) and even seats (originally supplied by Recaro). Now there are rumors that Tesla will even bring battery cell production in-house.
    Most parts inside the Model 3 do not bear the name of a supplier. Instead, many have the Tesla logo, including the substrates inside the ECUs. This suggests the company maintains tight control over the development of almost all key technologies in the car.
    And the challenge for mainstream automakers to match startups (not just Tesla) isn't the technology itself, but their mindset and the supply chain:
    There should be nothing stopping Toyota or VW from doing the same much earlier than 2025, considering their immense financial resources and vast talent pools. But technological hurdles are not the reason for the delay, according to the Japanese engineer who said "we cannot do it."
    Last edited by emh; 02-17-2020 at 11:36 AM.
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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Be interesting to see what Tesla does as they grow. It's one thing to manufacture in-house when your volume is small vs. when you are producing 5 million vehicles a year. Feels a little apples and oranges to an extent. Though between Hyundai's industry leading quality partially via their integrated parts manufacturing and Tesla per the above article it might force the big manufacturers to re-examine their 1980's decisions to spin off the parts manufacturing.

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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    And it's reflected in Tesla's stock price

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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Where is this secret fab of Tesla's that manufacturers all of these back to the future chips? LMAO.

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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Mister "we cannot do it" needs to be reassigned. Toyota did what no one else could or wanted to do in their absolutely driven effort on the Prius. A no-can-do attitude has no place there.
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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Looks like an expensive bill when your "AICU" goes out.
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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Quote Originally Posted by Vagon11 View Post
    Where is this secret fab of Tesla's that manufacturers all of these back to the future chips? LMAO.
    Jerry, is that really you??
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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Quote Originally Posted by TruckMan View Post
    Looks like an expensive bill when your "AICU" goes out.
    No worries!! It's under warranty!!


    OCT 12, 2019 at 9:59AM

    By: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

    It is currently appearing on MCUv1, but the MCUv2 may also have issues.
    When Elon Musk said Tesla cars are computers on wheels, he forgot to mention they run on Linux. They also do a lot of logging. According to Jason Hughes, from 057 Technology, more than they should:

    “The information logged here is pretty much useless on production vehicles. Unless a developer has a specific reason for enabling it, it does the customer no good. These logs are also rarely downloaded by Tesla.”

    Why are we telling this? Because you may end up paying more than $1,800 to repair your Tesla because of a cheap eMMC flash memory card.

    ***UPDATE: MCU stands for Media Control Unit, not Main Control Unit, as we mentioned before. The text is already corrected. Tesla CEO Elon Musk thinks this should be much less of a problem now, but Hughes did not see any improvements. Check out the embedded tweet below:

    The reports about the problem come from three different shops in three very different places. 057 Technology is from Hickory, North Carolina. Robert Cotran and his partner Jean-Claude Thibault work on the issue at the Cotran Consulting in Candiac, Québec. He kindly provided us the MCU pictures for this article. Pete Gruber's work, from Gruber Motors, deserved a whole series of videos from Out of Spec Motoring that we talked about here. He is in Phoenix, Arizona.

    All three helped us explain the failure. More than that, they aim to warn Tesla owners that the clock is ticking for all of them. Regardless of your car, the logging will require replacing your MCU sooner or later.

    Hughes told InsideEVs:

    “The main issue is that this excessive log file writing causes eMMC flash wear. Flash memory is generally only rated for some tens of thousands of write cycles. What happens is that the flash memory starts to fail when writings can no longer be completed. When one block fails, parts of the firmware may also become unreadable, leading to poor operation or failure of the MCU completely.”

    Ask Cotran what the problem is: You’ll get the same answer.

    “The filesystem in MCUv1 is handled on a NAND-based eMMC flash chip. Although these are solid-state and great for automotive use, there is one pretty serious drawback. Each memory bit on a flash chip can only be written to a limited number of times before data gets corrupt – and that bit can no longer reliably store a 0 or a 1.”

    Gruber is even more direct with the diagnostics:

    “Tesla selected a flash chip that is unable to handle the constant read/write functions. These chips have since been replaced with a more robust version.”

    If you still did not understand what happens, every Tesla has an MCU, or media control unit. Version 1, also called MCUv1, equipped Tesla Model S and Model X units up to 2018. When it fails, the car loses important features controlled by the touchscreen. That may make driving it dangerous, as these threads on TeslaMotorsClub.com and on Tesla's official forum show.

    Among its many components was an nVidia Tegra ARM-based CPU. Tesla soldered the 8 GB eMMC flash memory chip to the same board of the CPU.

    When the cars started to be sold, at the beginning of the 2010s, logging was not an issue. Hughes said:

    “However, since the initial release, Tesla's firmware image size has gone from about 300MB to the full 1GB maximum size.”

    In other words, the firmware is now competing with logs for space on the eMMC chip. When the log writing wears a sector of the chip, it uses a mechanism called wear leveling. Cotran explains the process:

    “The eMMC flash chip architecture attempts to mitigate this problem using a wear-leveling technique. It spreads out write operations over the entire chip to ensure that specific bits are not written to very often, essentially avoiding the write limitation.”

    Check what Hughes has to say about this:

    “The flash controller transparently and seamlessly spreads the wear across the chip utilizing unused sections of the flash memory to extend the effective number of write cycles available. With Tesla utilizing near 100 percent of the flash memory today, there is no free space left for additional wear leveling to compensate for the excessive log writing.”
    More:
    https://insideevs.com/news/376037/te...-memory-issue/
    Last edited by Neanderthal; 02-17-2020 at 03:02 PM.
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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Quote Originally Posted by emh View Post
    Well it has worked out, AMD is killing Intel using the TSMC fabs, which I'd say are ahead of Intel at the moment. Could flip again if Intel ever gets the next node working, 7.

    It is interesting they are writing so much crap to the flash. I've built a number of IoT thingie's for around the house using beaglebones and raspberry pi's. The beaglebones have the flash on the card soldered on, so the first thing I do is turn off all sorts of system logging (think maybe 100 byte per hour) just to extend the life of the flash. The pi's wisely stick the flash on a micro SD card so the board is not worthless if the flash goes. Ironically, I've had 2 pi's fail and no beaglebones. The pi's just died, not sure why.

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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Quote Originally Posted by Vagon11 View Post
    Well it has worked out, AMD is killing Intel using the TSMC fabs, which I'd say are ahead of Intel at the moment. Could flip again if Intel ever gets the next node working, 7.

    It is interesting they are writing so much crap to the flash. I've built a number of IoT thingie's for around the house using beaglebones and raspberry pi's. The beaglebones have the flash on the card soldered on, so the first thing I do is turn off all sorts of system logging (think maybe 100 byte per hour) just to extend the life of the flash. The pi's wisely stick the flash on a micro SD card so the board is not worthless if the flash goes. Ironically, I've had 2 pi's fail and no beaglebones. The pi's just died, not sure why.
    That went about 20 feet over my head

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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    No worries!! It's under warranty!!
    The logging thing is clearly a bad design but a ~$2000 potential wear item once in the life of a ~$100k car is not that big a deal. For comparison, it's not unlike the timing chain tensioner problems in GM's 3.6, and much better than the transmission issues in some Toyotas etc. Heck, it used to cost almost that much every time for brake pads and rotors on my wife's BMW (OEM BMW rotors can't be resurfaced). The good news is that logging can easily be scaled back via an OTA update now that the problem is known.
    Last edited by emh; 02-18-2020 at 12:46 AM.
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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Quote Originally Posted by Vagon11 View Post
    Well it has worked out, AMD is killing Intel using the TSMC fabs, which I'd say are ahead of Intel at the moment. Could flip again if Intel ever gets the next node working, 7.

    It is interesting they are writing so much crap to the flash. I've built a number of IoT thingie's for around the house using beaglebones and raspberry pi's. The beaglebones have the flash on the card soldered on, so the first thing I do is turn off all sorts of system logging (think maybe 100 byte per hour) just to extend the life of the flash. The pi's wisely stick the flash on a micro SD card so the board is not worthless if the flash goes. Ironically, I've had 2 pi's fail and no beaglebones. The pi's just died, not sure why.
    I can see how this is an easy mistake to make with OTA updates. It wasn't a big issue at the time the code was originally written (as the system image was small at the time, and logging was okay with wear-leveling) and it's not a problem now as new cars ship with higher capacity, but the new software on old hardware is a problem under some circumstances. And it's not the sort of problem a pure software engineer might anticipate or would catch in normal testing. Hopefully, they'll pay more attention to this sort of thing in the future.
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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    Be interesting to see what Tesla does as they grow. It's one thing to manufacture in-house when your volume is small vs. when you are producing 5 million vehicles a year. Feels a little apples and oranges to an extent. Though between Hyundai's industry leading quality partially via their integrated parts manufacturing and Tesla per the above article it might force the big manufacturers to re-examine their 1980's decisions to spin off the parts manufacturing.
    Tesla doesn't manufacture every part, including the computer mentioned in the article. It's more about Tesla keeping the design in house and contracting out the production. Many parts used by the big guys are designed by the suppliers and automakers simply use what's available out there.

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    Re: Tesla teardown finds electronics 6 years ahead of Toyota and VW

    Anyone remember the “good old days” when guys bragged about horsepower and the number of carburator barrels?

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