While safety is one key consideration, it must go hand-in-hand with security. It is no coincidence that in a number of languages, like German or Chinese, the same word describes both. Combining the two is becoming a critical design criterion for teams worldwide.
As cars become more automated and gain access to over-the-air updates, they naturally become more connected. The nature of their operations means they constantly collect and transmit valuable information, which makes them potential prey for malicious attacks by cybercriminals. An attack might take the form of stealing “key” information from a keyless car system to enable a break-in; running a chip in a test or debug mode to gain system privileges; or hacking an infotainment system with a virus via a mobile handset. Whatever the attack approach, if a system is easily hacked, it is simply unsafe. Going forward, this will impact the entire supply chain, from IP blocks to the final assembled vehicles themselves.
An essential component in high-performing automotive SoCs is the role of a functional SoC safety manager. It acts as the brain of the vehicle for monitoring and escalating system failures in real-time, independent of other processing occurring in the chip. This is necessary to meet the top-level ISO 26262 safety standards, including Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASIL) D, a risk classification that dictates functional safety for a vehicle’s electrical and electronics systems.
In most cases, it is implemented as a dual-processor setup with both cores operating in a lockstep manner along with a small shift to prevent a fault from transpiring in the same area and comparing those results to detect the occurrence of an error. Synopsys ARC Functional Safety Processor IP is certified for both ASIL B and ASIL D operations, and these are increasingly used as a chip’s safety manager. It supports holistic design with an ASIL D-compliant processor and security to resist attack. It also detects physical tampering and supports a trusted execution environment, while providing comprehensive documentation required for ISO 26262 certification. This in turn is backed with functional safety software to help prioritize and optimize functional safety, add flexibility, and reduce the effort required for implementation and development.
Our ASIL D compliant ARC SEM130FS Processor adds safety-critical hardware features, such as dual-core lockstep, to meet strict automotive safety requirements as well as mitigate random hardware faults and avoids system failures.