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CNN 10

Shortage of Computer Chips Threaten to Hamper Production of Cars and Trucks; Onlookers Get Close Look at Lava During Volcano Eruption in Iceland; Robot Dog Makes Rounds At Hospital

Aired March 24, 2021 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz. What do the Ford Model A, the Dusenberg SSJ Speedster and a Willys MB Jeep all have in common? If you

said they`re old, you`re right but there`s something else that ties these iconic vehicles together and it`s related to our first topic today on CNN

10. That topic is computer chips. These cars ain`t got `em.

Today`s cars do, dozens of them. They`re not just found in the touch screen infotainment systems that replaced the buttons and switches you played with

as a little kid. Keyless entry, engine operation, anti-lock brakes, automatic transmissions, airbag systems, all of these are controlled with

semiconductors, computer chips and one of the many strange ripple effects of the corona virus pandemic is a global shortage of these chips.

About 12 percent of them go to car makers and the automotive industry is worth trillions of dollars worldwide. So if car makers can`t get chips into

their vehicles and then can`t produce them as quickly as they used to, economic problems could result around the world.

The makers of these semiconductors shutdown temporarily because of the pandemic but they`re back up and running now. So you`d think that would

have just caused a delay in the production of things that use them. But with more people spending more time at home last year, demand for computer

chips went through the roof as consumers bought new computers, TVs and game consoles. So now car makers are having trouble getting the ones they need

for new vehicles. Kristie Lu Stout has more info on why the chips are down.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s so easy to take them for granted. The tiny silicon based semiconductors that fuel our modern lives

our Smartphones, our laptops and our cars.

Now the average car has between 50 to 150 chips that are used to monitor important engine and safety systems along with GPS navigation or driver

systems when you try to parallel park. But when the pandemic hammered auto sales last year, top chip makers shifted capacity away from car makers to

gadget makers resulting in a critical shortage of car chips that`s been called "chipagedon".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One (inaudible) cars could actually be lost in the coming months. That`s quite a lot. We should tell you the average value of

a car which might be say $20,000, $30,000 maybe dollars. It would actually lead to about $20 to $30 billion in lost revenue.

STOUT: There is a growing list of auto makers cutting production because of the chip crunch. In Japan, you have Subaru, Toyota, Honda and Nissan and

in the U.S. Ford and GM. In a statement, GM says quote, "despite our mitigation efforts, the semiconductor shortage will impact GM production in

2021. We`re currently assessing the overall impact but our focus is to keep producing our most in demand products."

As the chip crunch disrupts production analysts say it may delay a global recovery in the auto sector. U.S. Senators are urging the White House to

take action in a letter sent earlier this month, 15 U.S. Senators from auto producing states warned that the shortage threatens their post pandemic

economic recovery.

It`s also a diplomatic issue. To resolve the shortage, the U.S. is working with Taiwan, home of TSMC, the world`s largest contract chip maker. The

Taiwan chip giant says the auto chip shortage is it`s top priority saying this quote, "TSMC is currently expediting these critical automotive

products through our way (inaudible). Our capacities fully utilized the demand from every sector TSMC is reallocating our way for capacity to

support the worldwide automotive industry."

As Taiwan pledges help, a warning from the other chip making giant in Asia, Samsung Electronics says the auto chip shortage could hit Smartphones. And

if you`re planning a new purchase consider this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you need something just right now if it`s in stock, otherwise unfortunately you`ll have to wait another three to six months

according to our (inaudible) estimates.

STOUT: Huge ripple effects are begin felt across tech, auto manufacturing and the global economy all from a tiny piece of silicon. Kristie Lu Stout,

CNN, Hong Kong.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Which of these islands is the largest? Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Iceland or Hispaniola. Of these options, Iceland which compares

in size to the U.S. state of Kentucky is the largest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Colors of the orange look much, much deeper than what you`d expect. So yes, it`s absolutely breathtaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are just here to look at the people and to see that everything is OK and just watch out that people don`t go too close to the


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it`s quite an interesting eruption. It didn`t really begin with a strong bang but instead we`ve had this fantastic earthquakes

form with over 50,000 earthquakes in -- in a month. And so the magma had been gradually rising towards the surface and is now producing a relatively

small eruption compared to the last one in Iceland.


AZUZ: If you received last night`s newsletter, you would have known already that story was coming up. But hey, it`s OK. You could still get

that newsletter. All you`ve got to do is go to, scroll down near the bottom of the page and click sign up for daily emails so you can sign

up for daily emails. And they`ll magically appear in your Inbox before each day`s show.

Therapy dogs can be amazing companions. The American Kennel Club says they may help reduce people`s anxiety and blood pressure. That they can help

people cope with emotional and physical hardships. They`re often used to help patients in hospital settings but a medical center in Boston,

Massachusetts has a completely different way of thinking when it comes to therapy dogs.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Dr. Spot, please report to the ER stat. That`s what they get at Brigham and Women`s Hospital in Boston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Task the robot actually in the emergency department.

MOOS: With a computer tablet for a head. Beaming the faces of ER doctors able to interact with patients from a COVID safe distance, not to mention -


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cameras that could then also sends signs like heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen levels.

MOOS: But they weren`t so much testing the robotics. They were more interested in whether patients would accept Dr. Spot. The Boston Dynamics

robo dog has been humanized through dance videos and even pulling Santa`s sleigh in an early version. The last time we recall a doctor having a robo

dog. Dr. Who did things like play chess with him. Dr. Spot didn`t flash his eyes at anyone but would you want to see this? Charging at you when you`re


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I think that`s exactly what we wanted to de-risk.

MOOS: MIT Assistant Professor Giovanni Traverso (ph) says the robo dog was spot on with the 40 patients they sicked him on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The robot looks like -- like a dog and, you know, I think dogs who are endearing to many and so actually their reception was

very positive.

MOOS: Unlike at a previous press demo, Professor Traverso (ph) says there were no accidents in the ER. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


AZUZ: The hospital is "doggedly" determined to provide service. Is it warm and fuzzy? No. Will it "therapese" the patients and give them "therapeace"

of mind? Some will say it`s "Spot on". Some will say it`s just what the "dogtor" ordered but critics might want someone to lift their spirits

instead of just it`s leg.

And they may say the whole hospital`s going to the "dawgs". Hey, speaking of going places. We`re going to the capital of Ghana today. In West Africa,

the American International School is watching in the city of Accra. It`s great to hear from you on You Tube. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN.