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Without question, safety practices in the automotive sector are becoming more regulated as industries adopt a standardized set of practices for designing and testing products.

ISO 26262 addresses the needs for an automotive-specific international standard that focuses on safety critical components. ISO 26262 is a derivative of IEC 61508, the generic functional safety standard for electrical and electronic (E/E) systems.

ISO 26262 uses a system of steps to manage functional safety and regulate product development on a system, hardware and software level.

The ISO 26262 standard provides regulations and recommendations throughout the product development process, from conceptual development through decommissioning. It details how to assign an acceptable risk level to a system or component and document the overall testing process.

Key components of ISO 26262, include:

  • Provides an automotive safety lifecycle (management, development, production, operation, service, decommissioning) and supports tailoring the necessary activities during these lifecycle phases
  • Provides an automotive specific risk-based approach for determining risk classes (Automotive Safety Integrity Levels, ASILs)
  • Uses 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

One of the most important things to know about ISO 26262 is that it’s evolving. In 2018, ISO 26262 underwent a major update and added two new standards: requirements for semiconductors and for motorcycles, trucks and buses. Guidance was added on model based development, software safety analysis, dependent failure analysis, fault tolerance and more. 

ISO 26262’s Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASILs) are based on three variables: severity, probability of exposure and controllability by the driver. Since ISO 26262 assumes that someone is driving the vehicle, it doesn’t directly pertain to fully autonomous vehicles.

But as full vehicle autonomy is on the roadmap for the automotive industry, functional safety remains mission-critical and the ISO 26262 standard will continue to evolve.

Want to know more? Tonex offers Automotive Functional Safety ISO 26262 Training Bootcamp, a 4-day intense course that covers the background of ISO 26262 standard, its scope, the main differences from IEC 61508 (the general safety standard), and how the scope varies with adding new systems.

Additionally, Tonex offers nearly three dozen other courses in Root Cause Analysis Training. For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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