Definition

Automotive hardware functional safety refers to the design and implementation of safety measures in the hardware of vehicles to prevent accidents and protect occupants and other road users from harm. This can include measures such as sensors and systems to detect and respond to potential hazards on the road, as well as fail-safe systems that can take over control of the vehicle in the event of a malfunction or failure. The goal of automotive hardware functional safety is to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries caused by hardware-related issues in vehicles.

The term functional safety (FuSa) is defined by ISO 26262 as the absence of unacceptable risk due to hazards caused by malfunctioning behavior of E/E (electrical and/or electronic) systems.

Related to hardware elements, the goals are to prevent systematic design failures and detect and control random hardware faults. Systematic faults occur during the development and manufacturing phases of the automotive design lifecycle. Random hardware faults appear during the lifetime of the hardware component in operation and are caused by random defects or aging.

Systematic faults are assessed qualitatively using safety analysis techniques such as FMEA (failure mode and effect analysis). Preventing systematic faults requires a systematic design approach following well-trusted design principles, verification and test.

Random hardware faults are assessed quantitatively using FMEDA (failure mode, effect and diagnostic analysis) to prove that the design achieves target ASIL (automotive safety integrity level). Random hardware faults are classified as either permanent faults, such as opens or shorts, or transient faults, such as temporary bit flips due to ionized radiation. They are detected and mitigated by safety mechanisms. There are a variety of hardware FuSa mechanisms such as techniques that leverage redundancy and comparators or majority voters such as dual core lockstep (DCLS) and triple mode/modular redundancy (TMR), or built-in self-tests (BIST) such as Logic BIST (LBIST) or Memory BIST (MBIST).

ISO 26262: Functional Safety Standard for Road Vehicles | Synopsys


How Does Automotive Hardware Functional Safety Work?

Automotive hardware functional safety works by implementing a variety of safety measures in the hardware of a vehicle to prevent accidents and protect occupants and other road users from harm.

One key aspect of automotive hardware functional safety is the use of sensors and systems that can detect potential hazards on the road and respond accordingly. For example, a vehicle may be equipped with sensors that can detect other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles in the road, and use that information to adjust the vehicle's speed or trajectory to avoid a collision.

Another important aspect of automotive hardware functional safety is the use of fail-safe systems that can take over control of the vehicle in the event of a malfunction or failure. This can include things like backup systems that can take over control of the vehicle's braking, steering, or acceleration in the event that the primary systems fail, or emergency shutdown systems that can shut down the vehicle in the event of a critical failure.

In addition, automotive hardware functional safety also includes the implementation of safety standards and guidelines set by regulatory bodies such as ISO 26262. This standard outlines the process of functional safety for electrical and/or electronic systems in production vehicles. This includes the creation of a safety plan, hazard analysis, and risk assessment, and implementation of safety measures to mitigate identified hazards and risks.

Overall, the goal of automotive hardware functional safety is to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries caused by hardware-related issues in vehicles, by implementing a variety of safety measures and fail-safe systems, and following safety standards and guidelines.


The Benefits of Automotive Hardware Functional Safety

Automotive hardware functional safety is a way to make cars safer by implementing certain measures in the car's hardware. The benefits of automotive hardware functional safety include:

  • Preventing accidents and protecting people in the car
  • Reducing the risk of car companies being held responsible for accidents
  • Improving car companies' reputation with customers
  • Helping car companies follow safety regulations
  • Saving car companies money and improving car performance
  • Developing new safety technologies


Why Automotive Hardware Functional Safety Is Important

Automotive hardware functional safety is important because it ensures that the systems and components in a vehicle operate as intended and fail in a safe manner. This includes systems such as braking, steering, and powertrain, as well as electronic systems like electronic stability control and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Ensuring functional safety can prevent accidents and injuries, and also protect the vehicle and its occupants in the event of a failure. Additionally, functional safety is critical for compliance with regulations and industry standards in the automotive industry.


How Can Synopsys Help You Ensure Functional Safety

Synopsys’ comprehensive automotive design solutions deliver complex FuSa analysis, implementation, and verification capabilities. Our unified functional safety verification platform is a complete solution that brings together best-in-class technologies for FMEA, FMEDA and fault campaign management under a single unified flow. Synopsys’ native automotive solutions provide the industry’s most comprehensive feature set to efficiently implement and verify FuSa mechanisms.

Synopsys also provides complete solutions to address reliability challenges, including electromigration (EM), voltage (IR) drop, device aging, and robust redundant via insertion (RVI) capabilities.

Our tools are certified to ISO 26262 Tool Confidence Level (TCL) 1 to accelerate quality and functional safety qualification.

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