The demanding amount of safety-critical applications is growing every day; bringing added and new pressures to design engineers as they had to develop Electric and Electronic (E/E) Systems to prevent risks and to solve safety challenges.
Designing complex E/E systems that meet rigorous and sophisticated Functional Safety requirements is a challenging job for engineers —especially when they are also managing time-to-market urgency with safety performance to guarantee human well-being. The challenge is to develop systems to prevent hazardous failures (hardware/software) or at least with enough controls to rule them when they occur.
Since 1960, hazard and risk analysis started to enter the equation to assure safety and security in the systems to protect people and equipment, raising a Functional Safety evolution. Both automotive and industrial markets require achieving compliance with IEC 61508 and ISO 26262 Functional Safety standards. Car makers have been required to provide new and improved vehicle safety systems with reliable electronic systems that can prevent dangerous failures and control them if they happen. Safety systems are evolving from basic airbag deployment systems to extremely complex Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) with accident prediction and avoidance capabilities.
Last year, approximately +40,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents on US highways —more than 1.3 million worldwide. If by using Functional Safety compliance applications (through ASIL Level 3 to Level 5) can be saved about 80% to 90% of those people, reliable safety systems will be saving around 36,000 lives in the US. This brings an economic benefit of $750 billion for avoiding accidents, economic damage... but more important: saving human lives.
Nowadays, an increasing number of industrial control systems are following IEC 61508 Functional Safety certification to operate acceptably safe with minimal faults in harsh environments. The evolution of Functional Safety is driving towards zero accidents, going from "Detection" to "Prediction" for guarantying safety and security.
Functional Safety is becoming relevant not only for automotive but for multiple industries such as energy, aerospace, telecommunications, robotics, or medical, and they all are demanding Functional Safety compliance to develop secure and safe systems for people.