Best Practices

ISO 26262 Panel Visits Jama

Jama recently hosted a Systems Engineering Forum focusing on the topic of compliance design/verification for automotive and beyond. I was on the panel of experts that brought different perspectives around ISO 26262 and the impact it has on systems design. The other panel members were:

  • Bill Chown, CIO INCOSE and Product Director, System-Level Engineering, Mentor Graphics
  • Mike Bucala, Lead Engineer – Vehicle Systems Quality, Daimler Trucks NA
  • Fred Roberts, Manager Corporate Applications, CAE Manager at Synopsys

ISO 26262 panel

It was a lively conversation with many great questions from the crowd. Some key takeaways:

A new version of ISO 26262 is in draft, slated to be in effect within two years. Updates will include:

  • ISO 26262 will expand to include busses and motorcycles as part of the standard. (This would have helped me sleep at night in the future; the Mercedes Sprinter Van I recently purchased was built under less-stringent passenger standards.)
  • The standard will mostly likely expand by 50%.

The panel discussed the different industry maturity levels with regards to functional safety. Bill Chown highlighted that the medical industry is ahead of the game in terms of being regulated. The main reason for this is that cars traditionally weren’t considered life-threatening to the driver. It was more the drivers themselves that created a risk. As systems do more to remove control of the driver, automobile manufacturers are suddenly more responsible for mitigating risk of failure.

The standard will further expand on the notion of identifying hazards that result in risk and mitigating them. Again this is familiar territory for medical device companies who have followed ISO 14971.

This standard addresses the needs for an automotive-specific standard that deals with the functional safety of hardware-software electrical/electronic/programmable safety critical systems. In alignment with good system engineering practices, ISO 26262 uses a system of steps to manage functional safety and regulate product development throughout the lifecycle on today’s hardware and software integrated systems. Specifically, this standard details how to assign an acceptable risk level to a system or component and document the overall testing process.