Regulation & Safety - Automotive ISO 26262 Demystified

Regulation & Safety - Automotive ISO 26262 Demystified

One of the long-standing issues in the development of autonomous vehicles is that of functional safety. The increasing complexity in the automotive industry has resulted in a drive towards the provision of safety-compliant systems.

Modern cars can consist of hundreds of ECUs and millions of lines of software code, with ADAS a precursor to much more complex self-driving systems. The goal of ISO 26262 is to provide a unifying standard for all automotive E/E systems.

To re-cap, ISO 26262 uses a system of steps to manage functional safety and regulate product development on a system, hardware, and software level. The standard provides regulations and recommendations throughout the product development process, from conceptual development through decommissioning. It details how to assign acceptable risk levels to systems and components and document the overall testing process. In general, ISO 26262:

  • Provides an automotive safety lifecycle and supports tailoring the necessary activities during the lifecycle phases.
  • Provides an automotive specific risk-based approach for determining risk classes.
  • Use ASILs for specifying the item’s necessary safety requirements for achieving an acceptable residual risk.
  • Provides requirements for validation and confirmation measures to ensure a sufficient and acceptable level of safety being achieved. 

Beyond ISO 26262, a new standard has been created (ISO 21448), described as ‘Safety of the Intended Functionality’, and designed to complement the existing standard. 

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