Semiconductor Engineering: Adding Safety Into Automotive Design

by Madelyn Miller, On Oct 16, 2018

October 4th, 2018 – By Ann Steffora Mutschler

OEMs are demanding safety-readiness for more components, altering the dynamics of the design process.

The problem is that not everything gets used in ways that IP vendors expect. “When OEMs say, ‘safety ready’ or ‘ASIL D ready’, or ‘ASIL D capable,’ what it means is if you use this ingredient, it’s going to basically enhance the safety of the overall system that it’s in and it’s going to enhance it by increasing the diagnostic coverage capabilities of the overall system to a certain level,” said Kurt Shuler, vice president of marketing at Arteris IP. “Of course, it’s always up to the system maker, because whether it’s Arm or Arteris or any IP provider, or sometimes even chip providers, you’re designing a product with no idea what the system’s going to be.”

Because of this, most of the IP created within the semiconductor industry by the ingredient providers is designated by ISO 26262 as a safety element out of context (SEOOC), specifically because a system technically is the only thing that can have an ASIL level, Shuler noted.“Our goal is to find the most difficult bugs in the fastest time that we can. Formal brings a lot of value, but it has not been recognized in that way.”

“Interestingly, something that catches people and is something that’s really important is that whether it’s a chip vendor looking at IP providers, a Tier-1 looking at the chip vendor, or an OEM looking at the Tier 1, they’re not just looking at whether this technical widget does what they say it’s going to do. A lot of attention is paid to the analysis of the widget, whether it’s an IP widget, a chip widget, even a system. And that’s where the term failure modes and effects and diagnostic analysis (FMEDA) comes into play. FMEDA quantitatively looks at that.”

“It’s great if you created this product that has all these technical things,” Shuler said. “But if the designers don’t know anything about safety or engineering and they got the code from a bunch of random different places and bolted it together, that can be really bad. It can cause systematic errors.”


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