Lattice Blog


Functional Safety in the Evolving Automotive Market

Functional Safety in the Evolving Automotive Market
Posted 11/03/2022 by Christian Mueller & Mark Hoopes, Lattice Semiconductor

Posted in

Functional safety (FuSa) ensures systems or pieces of equipment are operating correctly in response to inputs or failure, and is a crucial part of the overall safety of a system. Originally developed for the Industrial market before being adopted into other markets, FuSa is now critical to automotive applications and is gaining even more importance as more technological advancements are added to vehicles.

What impact has this shift had on the evolving Automotive market? We sat down with Functional Safety Practice Manager of Tata Elxsi, Dinu Promise, to discuss the role of FuSa in today’s Automotive market during our recent LinkedIn Live panel discussion. Below are some of the key takeaways from our discussion and further insights into various aspects of functional safety in the Automotive market.

What is Automotive Functional Safety?

Above all else, FuSa helps active systems detect, avoid, and control failures and mitigate their harmful effects. In the Automotive market it helps minimize operational malfunctions and hazards encountered when operating a vehicle.

With the trending electrification of vehicles, potentially dangerous high voltages and currents are present, but proper FuSa design ensures safe operation even under fault conditions. Functional safety also applies to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), and critical information in displays systems such as backup camera visuals, and driver warnings. Functionally safe systems for driver assistance need to ensure correct operation even in highly variable conditions that may be difficult for it to handle, such as sun glare, rain, and snow, which can impact the cameras and sensors in the vehicle.

Many functional safety guidelines such as ISO 26262 (Functional safety for road vehicles), come from IEC 61508 (Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems) . This industry standard requires components of a vehicle to meet performance standards and have appropriate software that operates in a safe and reliable manner. For ADAS features like automatic or assisted driving, additional safety guidelines have been created, including ISO 21448 for the safety of intended functionality (SOTIF). ISO 21448 applies to functionalities that require proper situational awareness to be safe, particularly new ADAS functions, and systems that depend on computer vision and AI algorithms.

Until recently, functional safety helped minimize the risk of harm or injury due to failures that may occur in Automotive systems. Now, with newer ADAS functionality designed to reduce driver error, the complexity and importance of applying Functional Safety principles becomes even more critical.

The Functional Safety Design Ecosystem

When designing functional safety into a system, the application it is being developed for must be considered, as well as how it could potentially fail. Then an assessment should be performed to determine the level of human impact if it fails.

As the system is developed, designers must decide what hardware to use. FPGAs are an ideal choice due to their in-field re-programmability, flexible bridging capabilities, and deterministic behavior. FPGAs are often used to connect multiple displays and cameras in a vehicle and can help ensure safety critical information is reliably reproduced, while also notifying the driver if there is an error or failure.

With so much new technology coming into the automotive space, Lattice FPGAs bring secure, reliable adaptability, power efficiency, and optimized performance to automakers and help designers rapidly implement cutting-edge features and technological advancements.

By using Lattice’s ISO 262626 certified design tools, like Lattice Diamond™ design software, Automotive system designers can easily design in the necessary standards for functional safety in the particular application. Lattice also works closely with partners like Tata Elxsi to implement functional safety solutions for automotive manufacturers.

To hear more about Lattice’s role in enabling functional safety in Automotive system designs, watch the replay of our LinkedIn Live discussion here.