The transportation industry has evolved, influenced by driver safety concerns, traffic and commuting plans, environmental regulations, paradigm shifts of how vehicles are used, and technology breakthroughs. Nowadays, new upgraded generations of vehicles are designed by engineers, driven on streets, and sold in dealerships.
This evolution generates a need for many OEMs to include safety and security considerations into early stages of their engineering process. The use of sensors, analogs, and other devices integrated with microcontrollers or microprocessors brings a new dimension of improved computational control, powertrain management, enhanced connectivity, and more important, driver safety through Functional Safety.
Functional Safety systems detect potentially dangerous conditions and execute corrective or preventive actions; the objective of Functional Safety is to avoid harm or health risks, in the worst case to reduce them to a tolerable level by bringing the failure impact down. Functional Safety combines electronic safety and security systems into vehicles by the application of both driving technologies and safety design.
Functional Safety has significantly changed over the last decade, as electronics were more common in industrial and automotive systems and nowadays reaching aerospace, aviation, and medical markets. The transportation industry delivers real value for fully certified market-enabled Functional Safety systems due to robust safety and security programs in combination with world-class product solutions. As achieving Functional Safety excellence is essential for the industry success, one of the main challenges is to accomplish the required robust Functional Safety levels while trying not to affect the system performance, design costs, or manufacturing process.
Engineering teams achieve Functional Safety by:
- Identifying potential hazards.
- Determining required safety functions.
- Assessing required Functional Safety standards.
- Designing systems for meeting Safety Integrity Level (SIL).
- Certificating systems with the applicable standards.
- Auditing Functional Safety to ensure standards compliance.
NXP SafeAssure program supports engineering teams to reduce unintentional hazard failure, to comply with high-demanding industry requirements, and to maintain consumer trust. The SafeAssure program connects experts with design engineers to share deep automotive and appliance safety knowledge, strategic alliances with main industry partners, and a variety of product development resources. Serving Functional Safety automotive applications, SafeAssure product offerings include Microcontrollers, Mixed-Signal Microcontrollers, Analog & Power Management, and Sensors solutions.
As Functional Safety is moving away from being an industry requirement to become normality, engineering teams demand reliable solutions to help to develop higher performance in-vehicle systems for improving overall efficiency, comfort or infotainment, and driver safety.