Safety certifying automotive components

For electronics to make their way onto commercial airliners, extensive testing and failure modes must be determined before they are certified for flight. Is there a similar requirement for automobile fly by wire systems?

03/13/2010


In response to a Pillar to Post blog entry on Toyota’s speed controller woes, one reader asked: For electronics to make their way onto commercial airliners, extensive testing and failure modes must be determined before they are certified for flight. Is there a similar requirement for automobile fly by wire systems?

One of the most widely used safety standards is IEC 61508, the international standard for “Functional Safety of Electrical, Electronic, and Programmable Electronic Safety-Related Systems.” It defines SIL (safety integrity level) classifications and how to develop products to achieve a SIL rating. It is the standard that all agencies (TÜV, Exida, SIRA/CSA, FM, etc.) use to evaluate and certify products to SIL requirements. It is a generic specification for functional safety and is not specific to any particular industry or application. There are also sector specific IEC functional safety standards, including IEC 61511 (a.k.a. ISA S84) for the process industry sector and IEC 62061 for the machinery sector. There are also IEC functional safety standards for nuclear (IEC 61513), rail (IEC 62278), and medical (IEC 62304) applications. There is a standard under development, ISO 26262, entitled “Road Vehicles–Functional Safety,” which is an adaptation of the functional safety standard IEC 61508.  However, in the meantime, IEC 61508 can be and is applied to automotive electronics. Exida does a lot of work for German auto manufacturers who pioneered the use of “drive-by-wire” technology and did it with a very high level of safety.

Globally, the topic of failsafe designs has not been applied as broadly as it should be. The North American transportation industry, in general, seems to have avoided coming to terms with it, but European companies have applied it much more effectively. While still under investigation by the NTSB, early indications suggest that recent rail incidents (e.g., DC Metro, Disney World Monorail) were a result of electronic controls that are not functionally safe, at least by today’s standards.

–John Cusimano, CFSE
Director of Security Services
exida

Read Control Engineering’s Machine Safety blog with J.B. Titus.

Posted by Ask Control Engineering on March 13, 2010



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Robotic safety, collaboration, standards; DCS migration tips; IT/OT convergence; 2017 Control Engineering Salary and Career Survey
Integrated mobility; Artificial intelligence; Predictive motion control; Sensors and control system inputs; Asset Management; Cybersecurity
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This article collection contains several articles on how automation and controls are helping human-machine interface (HMI) hardware and software advance.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me