E/E systems in safety-critical markets (such as automotive, industrial, and medical) are becoming more complex as new designs are demanding an increase in the amount of advanced security and safety features, like failover or redundancy. The trend is significantly growing across the industry by using Functional Safety electronics devices rather than mechanical ones, external rule sets, or even human oversight.
The automotive industry started to lead the efforts to reduce both safety failures and systems errors by drafting (based on playbooks from manufacturing and aerospace) the ISO 26262 standard to make an industry rooted in mechanical engineering more safety-aware. As semiconductors are being an essential element in automotive systems, the ISO 26262 has stringent guidelines to make chips more robust against performance issues (like overclocking or faulty signals), age, and environmental circumstances (temperature or radiation). The semiconductor industry is moving forward with Functional Safety, to avoid liability for malfunctions and to protect itself against costly recalls.
Functional Safety features are being defined by laws and standards to keep the public safe, challenging the industry to continuously revise the devices to optimize them, looking for better compliance on their verification, testing, manufacturing, and application.
As car makers are aiming for fully autonomous cars in the roads within the next five years, the complete ecosystem is running against the time-to-market clock to make those systems accountable for product integrity, reliability, and security. Engineers need to meet reliability standards and smart solutions; software companies are under pressure to provide Functional Safety tools; and semiconductors suppliers must offer ISO 26262 compliance products.