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UNDERSTANDING THE ISO 26262 STANDARD - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

2016 was a surprising year in the history of the automotive industry. Not because of any significant development in the world, but because, the year saw a record number of vehicles being recalled for safety reasons in the USA. According to the data by the U.S. Transportation Department, 53.2 million vehicles were recalled because of concerns in safety, which could have eventually led to the rise in road traffic accidents and fatalities. A recall generally takes place when a designated body determines that the vehicle, a piece of equipment or a system in the vehicle can create an unreasonable risk, without meeting the minimum safety standards. With the trend of increasing technological complexity, software content and mechatronic implementation, there are increasing risks from systematic failures and random hardware failures, these being considered within the scope of functional safety. Current trend is every OEM demands all the suppliers in the entire supply chain of the automotive products to adhere to the standard. 

Helping companies adhere to all the safety standards is a standardized set of practice that tests every step of the operation, right from the design plans to the deployment of the end-product. The ISO 26262 certification helps in having a common language across the entire supply chain to have a common language for functional safety. Titled as ‘Road vehicles – functional safety’, the ISO 26262 is one of the most important functional safety standards that everyone from the automotive supply chain shall follow.

What is the ISO 26262 standard?

Derived from IEC 61508, ISO 26262 is a risk-based safety standard that applies to all the electric or/and electronic systems in production vehicles. The standard describes a systematic process of designing and developing a safety related function at the Vehicle level. The process starts from having a good functional safety management to implement the process in the design of safety related functions. Addresses the safety right from concept phase, system Design, Hardware and Software design. Standard is applicable to all types of vehicles such as passenger cars, Trucks, Buses, Trailers, semi-trailers.  The risks due to function failures in the vehicles are due to systematic failures and random failures. The standard includes guidance to mitigate these tasks by providing appropriate requirements and processes.

So why is the ISO 26262 Certification important?

Implementing ISO 26262 Process along with the certified Quality management in an organisation helps building functional safety across their product line. Thus, ISO 26262 process can be bridged with the existing quality management process and get it certified which makes the organisation a Safety organisation and gives a better identity in the marketplace. The products developed as per the functional safety process can be assessed for the particular safety integrity level ASIL. This requires the entire project team is knowledgeable on the standard in order to implement the requirements in their design and development. This requires knowledge on the standard and thus a team getting trained and certified in the standard is essential.

What are the key components of the ISO 26262 certification?

ISO 26262 certification uses a series of steps to ensure functional safety is regulated across product development, hardware, and software development levels. By providing recommendations and regulations throughout the product development process, the ISO 26262 standard finds its relevance right from the concept development until the decommissioning stage. Here are a few important components of the ISO 26262 certification:

  • It provides an automotive safety lifecycle and supports tweaking necessary activities across different phases
  • It gives out a specific risk-based approach to determine different risk classes. These are categorized as Automotive Safety Integrity Levels or ASILs
  • The ISO 26262 certification uses ASILS to specify the necessary safety requirements to achieve an acceptable risk
  • The certification also provides requirements for confirmation and validation, that ensure the requisite and acceptable level of safety is being achieved

How does the ISO 26262 work?

ISO 26262 certification firstly defines key terms like error, failure, and faults to ensure everybody that is involved in the automotive process is aware. The certification also defines the standards that are applicable across the safety lifecycle of individual automotive products. This begins right from the concept phase to the product development across levels, production, operation, service, and right until the decommissioning stage. The ISO 26262 certification also provides a specific risk-based approach for determining various automotive risk classes. Along with identifying and assessing these safety risks, the certification establishes various requirements that reduce these risks to an acceptable level. The certification also tracks the requirements, thereby ensuring an acceptable level of safety is attained in the end-product.

What are the challenges of the ISO 26262 certification?

Following a standard that is universally accepted brings with it a range of complications and challenges. For an automotive manufacturer, following ISO 26262 certification could bring extensive testing and documentation which could be arduous. The certification demands various engineers to first assess the design software for the Tool Confidence Levels.

Moreover, while ISO 26262 certification comes with a shared vocabulary for automotive safety, several definitions across the ASIL classifications leave room for interpretation without being definite. This could lead to confusion among the various parties that are involved in bringing a product to life. Owing to these factors, the ISO 26262 certification could end up becoming expensive and adds a considerable amount of time on releasing a product into the market.

Is ISO 26262 training worth the effort? Learn more about ISO 26262 with TÜV SÜD

The importance of functional safety can never be disregarded. Especially considering various road vehicles and automobiles. The ISO 26262 training ensures one understands the specific needs of various electrical or/and electronic systems. But undergoing the ISO 26262 training from a reputed training institute like TÜV SÜD brings with it a range of advantages. Using training modules that are designed based on the practical use of the standard helps candidates in implementing the ISO 26262 certification in their daily business to avoid risks and failures.  Moreover, TÜV SÜD has some of the world’s leading functional safety experts to help candidates steer their way through the ISO 26262 training and certification program. With a globally recognized certificate, TÜV SÜD helps ISO 26262 certified individuals to become a trusted partner in the automotive industry. Learn More about our ISO 26262 training and certification program.

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