Software Self-test as a Safety Mechanism for Processing Units
The growing dependency of modern automobiles on electronic functions increases the need for a variety of integrated circuits (ICs) for safety-critical applications. Requirements coming from different in-car subsystems drives the need for chip manufacturers to create a wide range of specialized solutions. This, in turn, raises the bar for automotive IP suppliers and pushes them to offer configurable and extensible IP products. The intersection of IP configurability and safety standards brings new technical challenges – common hardware redundancy techniques that implement dual-core lockstep (DCLS) for processing units no longer work as a one-size-fits-all approach. Increased complexity driven by increasing processing performance with low power consumption requirements to service the demands of L2+ automotive use-cases requires a rethink of the traditional approach to IC safety through full hardware redundancy. This trend brings new safety mechanisms into play.
Functional safety is a system characteristic that is considered from the beginning of the development chain, starting at the vehicle level, through the resulting system design, including allocation of top-level safety requirements to the downstream hardware and software components. Therefore, IP vendors that provide hardware and software system components must consider creating components as safety elements out of context (SEooCs) and applying functional safety requirements to their IP under the assumption that they’ll be used in safety-critical systems.
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