With this rapid growth in usage of electrical, electronic and programmable safety-related systems in passenger cars, there was a need for a safety standard. The ISO 26262 standard, first published on November 11, 2011, was created to define functional safety guidelines for automotive safety systems. ISO 26262 is an adaptation of the IEC 61508 functional safety standard for automotive electrical/electronic/programmable safety-related systems. The ISO 26262 standard:
- Provides an automotive safety lifecycle (management, development, production, operation, service, decommissioning) and supports tailoring the necessary activities during these lifecycle phases
- Defines functional safety aspects of the entire development process (such as requirements specification, design, implementation, integration, verification, validation and configuration)
- Outlines an automotive-specific risk-based approach for determining risk classes (Automotive Safety Integrity Levels, or ASILs)
- Uses ASILs to specify the necessary safety requirements for achieving an acceptable risk
- Specifies requirements for validation and confirmation measures to ensure a sufficient and acceptable level of safety is being achieved.
The ISO 26262 standard consists of 10 parts:
- Management of functional safety
- Concept phase
- Product development at the system level
- Product development at the hardware level
- Product development at the software level
- Production and operation
- Supporting processes
- ASIL- and safety-oriented analysis
- Guideline on ISO 26262
Ultimately it is up to the OEM and tier 1 suppliers designing and building the automotive safety system to make sure it complies with the ISO 26262 standard for their pre-defined safety function. The OEM and tier 1 suppliers have the task of piecing together their technology, components, software and documentation to achieve certification.
This safety-compliant trend is driving the requirement for ISO 26262 compliance all the way through the system development process. The safety burden has extended from the automotive OEM to the component supplier(s) to the IP supplier(s) of technology that go into the chip, which in turn is a positive step as it makes the cars we drive safer. At every level in the development of safety systems, there is a need to deliver technology and software that encompass functional safety compliance.
With the need for more complex and sophisticated safety systems comes the need for more complex and sophisticated semiconductor IP. The IP used in these safety-critical system components needs to be created in an ISO 26262-aware organization with appropriate processes and facilitating technology to expedite ISO 26262 certification of the systems built by automotive OEMs and tier 1 suppliers. This means that the IP developer has to follow the processes, procedures and, where applicable, implement safety features that meet specified Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASIL- A, B, C, D).