The automotive industry is quickly accelerating toward new ways of driving cars. Several automakers have announced a shift in focus from traditional internal combustion engines to hybrid and all electric vehicles, while others are focusing on expanding advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). With these new technologies come new and greater safety considerations—and an increase in the cost of failure.
In recent years, US federal liability limits to automakers for functional safety violations have increased substantially. While there are currently no federal mandates requiring compliance with the ISO 26262 functional safety standard for automobiles in the US, the financial risk of functional safety violations is driving many of the automakers to self-regulate with more rigorous methods of ensuring that appropriate levels of functional safety are achieved.
In 2011, ISO 26262 “Road Vehicles–Functional Safety” was published with the intent of providing a basis for regulating the functional safety of electrical and electronic systems installed in passenger vehicles. One of the greatest challenges of ISO 26262 is that the comprehensive standard clearly outlines the process objectives and the types of activities and artifacts that need to be developed, but it does not necessarily provide a prescriptive approach for how to prove compliance.
Below are three tips to help you ensure functional safety compliance:
1. Understand the Requirements
Above all else, in order to comply with functional safety standards, such as ISO 26262, you need to understand the requirements that your product must meet. Unfortunately, that isn’t always easy. ISO 26262 is one of the most rigorous functional safety standards that requires substantial interpretation by the reader. With ultra-specific vocabulary that can mean something different in another context, ISO 26262 is one of the most challenging functional safety standards.
2. Document, Document, Document!
While it can be difficult to understand the requirements of ISO 26262, once you understand them, you might find that there aren’t as many gaps in your compliance as you may have thought. Often, component and system manufacturers find that the processes required to demonstrate compliance to ISO 26262 are already being practiced but are simply not documented. We recommend establishing a document plan that can help you document every step of your development process as evidence for standards compliance.
3. Work with a Consultant
One of the greatest tools you can equip yourself with to ensure functional safety compliance is to equip yourself with extensive knowledge of standards compliance processes by partnering with an experienced consultant. Approaching ISO 26262 compliance for the first time can be overwhelming, but partnering with a consultant to guide you through the process will help you achieve favorable results quickly and efficiently.
Looking to learn more about how to ensure compliance with ISO 26262? Download our white paper, “Compliant Testing for Automotive Functional Safety: How to Comply with Key Aspects of ISO 26262.”