How does ISO 26262 differ from other automotive standards?

Published on:

November 23, 2023

ISO 26262 mandates a functional safety development process (from specification all the way through production release) that automotive OEMs and suppliers must follow and document (for compliance) to have their devices qualified to run inside commercial (passenger) vehicles. It outlines a risk classification system (Automotive Safety Integrity Levels, or ASILs) and aims to reduce possible hazards caused by the malfunctioning behavior of electrical and electronic (E/E) systems.

How is ISO 26262 Different From Other Automotive Standards?

ISO 26262 serves as a global standard for the functional safety of electrical systems in road vehicles, emphasizing guidelines to minimize accidents and ensure component performance. It introduces Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASILs) to classify risk.

AEC-Q100, on the other hand, concentrates on testing individual electronic parts in automobiles for safety and reliability, employing stress tests for integrated circuits. Unlike ISO 26262, AEC-Q100 has a narrower focus on component-level testing.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) contributes broadly to transportation technology, creating guidelines for various industries. SAE covers cybersecurity, autonomy levels, and testing standards, offering a more diverse scope compared to ISO 26262, which specifically addresses electronic system safety.

MISRA provides guidelines for secure C programming in automotive embedded systems, emphasizing safe coding practices. Unlike ISO 26262, which addresses overall system safety, MISRA concentrates specifically on coding standards for enhanced reliability.

How Does ISO 26262 Work?

ISO 26262 provides a process for managing and reducing risks associated with electrical and/or electronic systems, and it is based on the concept of a safety life cycle, which includes the following phases:
  • Planning. In this phase, the safety requirements for the system are defined, and a safety plan is developed.
  • Analysis. In this phase, the system is analyzed to identify hazards and potential failure modes.
  • Design and Implementation. In this phase, the system is designed and implemented to meet the safety requirements defined in the planning phase and to eliminate or mitigate the hazards identified in the analysis phase.
  • Verification. In this phase, the system is tested to ensure that it meets the safety requirements and that any hazards have been eliminated or mitigated.
  • Validation. In this phase, the system is tested in its intended environment to ensure that it behaves as expected.
  • Production, Operation and Decommissioning. In this phase, the safety requirements are maintained and the system is decommissioned.

ISO 26262 also specifies the documentation that must be produced and the tools that can be used at each phase of the safety life cycle.

What Are The Benefits of ISO 26262?

Adopting ISO 26262 helps ensure that the safety of car components is considered from the beginning of the development process. It provides a comprehensive framework for managing safety throughout the entire lifecycle of an automotive component, from initial risk assessment to final decommissioning. By following ISO 26262, automotive manufacturers can ensure that their suppliers are meeting safety standards, preventing costly issues from arising during the production process.

The standard takes into account the trend of increasing integration of hardware and software in automotive electronic systems. It provides detailed guidelines for concurrent development and testing of hardware and software, recognizing that they must be tested together to achieve optimal safety. This ensures that all aspects of the system are considered and tested together, promoting a more comprehensive and thorough approach to functional safety.

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