Automotive Electronics - Functional Safety Requirements

Functional Safety Requirements

In order to minimize the risk of dangerous failures, safety related electronic systems have to be developed following the applicable product liability requirements. Disregard for, or inadequate application of these standards can lead to not only personal injuries, but also severe legal and economic consequences such as product cancellations.

The IEC 61508 standard, generally applicable to electrical/electronic/programmable safety-related products, is only partially adequate for automotive-development requirements. Consequently for the automotive industry, this standard is replaced by the existing ISO 26262, currently released as a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS). ISO/DIS 26262 describes the entire product life-cycle of safety related electrical/electronic systems for road vehicles. It has been published as an International Standard in its final version in November 2011. The implementation of this new standard will result in modifications and various innovations in the automobile electronics development process, as it covers the complete product life-cycle from the concept phase until its decommissioning.

When developing electric vehicles, it is very essential to consider all electrical, chemical, and mechanical safety aspects. The development of safe, high-voltage batteries is regarded as a major challenge. There is still no appendage that addresses safety-related aspects of electric propulsion and storage systems. As a result, it is quite a challenge to navigate through the inconsistencies and gaps in the technical standards and legal requirements.

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