Driving Compliance with Functional Safety Standards for Software-Based Automotive Components

About this Paper

Today’s automobile is a technology hub on wheels, with connected systems and embedded software that offer everything from communications and route planning to automated driving functions such as collision avoidance and lane departure warning systems. Self-driving cars are not far off, with several automobile manufacturers expecting their fully autonomous vehicles to be on the road by 2021.

While it’s still too early to predict all the ways that driverless cars will transform our lives, there is certainly the huge potential for making driving safer and drastically reducing the number of traffic-related deaths per year. But before autonomous vehicles can improve safety, developers need to make sure the software itself is safe — that is, working correctly in every situation.

For that reason, many products for the automotive industry are now subject to both existing and future functional safety standards. These regulations — in tandem with the increased complexity of the systems themselves — present new challenges for product development teams, which must understand how functional safety specifications impact product life cycles in order to manage their tools and processes effectively.

This paper looks at the challenges companies face when addressing the intersection of functional safety and efficient, collaborative product development. It describes how a Fortune 100 semiconductor company is meeting these challenges for its automotive-related technology with an integrated and compliance-ready solution that streamlines the development of products that adhere to relevant functional safety standards.

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Putting Functional Safety In The Driver’s Seat

In the auto industry — as in almost every industry — software-driven and connected systems have become the mainstay of innovation. Vehicles now ship with tens of millions of lines of code that manage engine and transmission controls, braking, steering and a host of diagnostic information on every subsystem — and these are just the cars that still need drivers.

In self-driving vehicles, these lines of code will rise to the billions. This is why it’s no longer enough to simply verify that a car’s physical parts meet various safety standards. Today’s automotive designers must also address safety in system, hardware, and software design.

As more and more products and systems incorporate complex microelectronics and software, it is increasingly challenging to assess and implement safety-related functions.
—UL, Third-Party Safety Science Company

When the software works as planned, autonomous vehicles can parallel park themselves, automatically adjust speeds, and switch from electric to gas power in an instant, offering potential benefits that range from safer roadways to increased mobility for seniors and the disabled. Consumers can save trillions of dollars due to lower fuel consumption, accident avoidance, productivity gains, and congestion avoidance.

When code fails, however, tragedy can occur.

In acknowledgement of the auto industry’s increased reliance on software, the International Organization for Standardization created ISO 26262 in 2011 as a detailed, industry-specific guideline for all software in automotive systems and equipment. Adapted from the more generic industrial functional safety standard, IEC 61508, ISO 26262 is similar to regulations in other industries.

ISO 26262 is an international standard that defines functional safety for automotive equipment throughout the life cycle of all automotive electronic and electrical safety-related systems.

ISO 26262 provides a risk-management approach that includes the determination of risk classes — known as automotive safety integrity levels, or ASILs — which are similar to the safety integrity levels specified in the IEC 61508 standard. And every technology and software component throughout the supply chain needs to comply with relevant parts of the ISO 26262 functional safety standard.

Improving Product Development

The vast increase in the amount of software underpinning today’s vehicles, combined with the stringent requirements for safety and reliability, are driving unprecedented levels of complexity in product development. If companies don’t have the right tools to track development and document their products’ compliance, they risk drowning in the challenges.

A Fortune 100 semiconductor company experienced this increased complexity firsthand. Because the company bases its business on constant innovation, it faces the same product development challenges as many businesses:

  • Supporting increased interdependency among vertical groups
  • Facilitating external collaboration with partners and consortiums
  • Increasing integration at each step of product development to accelerate time-to-market for high-quality products
  • Tracking the multitude of details required for functional safety compliance, for example, collecting and collating evidence that teams are following processes

To meet these challenges, the semiconductor company set about transforming its business using standardized development processes and application life-cycle management (ALM) tools. ALM supports the development process from initial planning through product retirement, including tracking application changes.

Achieving transformation of the development process means the semiconductor company needed to:

  • Reduce more than 50 disparate tools and applications to a manageable set of best-of-class solutions, including ALM software that supports ISO 26262 compliance
  • Provide support for new functional safety and quality regulations so development teams can pass product audits and avoid the costs and delays of rework associated with product and audit failures
  • Add a global data repository and data analysis capabilities

Adopting Modern Software That Supports ISO 26262

As the semiconductor company began winnowing its toolset, it considered what the perfect ALM solution might look like. The company quickly realized the software would have to provide, at minimum, the following:

  • End-to-end traceability of the entire V-model, including requirements, functions, implementations, and tests throughout the life-cycle process (see figure)
  • Requirements management
  • Validation and verification
  • Change management
Product life-cycle v-model incorporating functional safety

Creating An Integrated Alm Solution With Jama Software At Its Core

As the semiconductor company began putting together an integrated ALM solution for development teams within its business units, it turned to the Jama development platform it was already using elsewhere in the organization. For automotive electronics providers, Jama offers better, faster product definition, change management, and functional safety verification.

Certified by internationally-recognized testing body TÜV SÜD for developing safety-related products to ISO 26262 (up to ASIL D) and IEC 61508 (up to SIL 3) standards, Jama offers a rigorous development environment that the semiconductor company knew would help it meet its functional safety requirements.

Jama’s solution provides built-in attention to process, decision-making, and change analysis in real time. With actionable traceability, semiconductor, and other connected device-related developers and manufacturers, can work faster without sacrificing safety or quality. Jama provides the semiconductor company’s development team with workflows for defining, building, and testing automotive-related products that meet critical functional safety requirements.

Jama’s solution provides built-in attention to process, decision-making, and change analysis in real time.

What’s more, by enabling companies to reuse requirements across design teams and platform generations, Jama helps accelerate product design — a key element of the semiconductor company’s business strategy. The resulting integrated application life-cycle management solution links up the best processes and tools and provides a single portal for accessing and analyzing a master data repository.

Gaining Business Value From Streamlined Development

With standardized processes and a core group of innovative solutions, the semiconductor company has removed many obstacles to development, allowing it to do the following:

Key Wins

Deliver products to market faster
By getting requirements right the first time, the semiconductor company is accelerating development cycles and delivering better products that achieve higher customer satisfaction.

Reduce product development costs
Through improved productivity and increased efficiency across development teams and business units, the semiconductor company is reducing the cost of product development. With Jama, teams can create a set of development-related assets once and reuse them across projects to eliminate the need to reinvent and reduce the threat of inconsistencies.

Improve quality
The semiconductor company eliminates a large percentage of product defects by effectively managing requirements, which helps eliminate costly manufacturing rework. Jama helps the company detect problems early, when they’re less expensive to fix.

Moving Into High Gear With Faster Development And Safety

When it comes to automobiles that depend on software from hundreds of vendors to operate properly, functional safety requirements have become a driving force — and, for some, a stumbling block — in modern product development.

With the Jama platform, the Fortune 100 semiconductor company developed an integrated ALM solution that moves quality and compliance from a manual task to one that’s incorporated seamlessly into existing workflows and best practices.

As a result, teams are spending more time on engineering and less time on understanding and managing compliance processes and documentation. The company now designs products more efficiently and releases them to the market faster.