IP platforms with Functional Safety built in
The ever-increasing processing power of electronic devices means that they are changing from being helpers to being decision makers. So, it is vital that the system does exactly what it was programmed to do for a given situation. Compliance with this is known as Functional Safety (FuSa) and this is increasingly important for many application areas where AI is making critical decisions, and specifically ISO 26262 in the case of automotive.
Ben Fletcher, Sondrel’s Director of Engineering, explained, “For customers developing products that require ISO 26262 compliance, lots of evidence is required to show that the product does meet the required FuSa standards. It can be really useful if all the sub-components have been built with safety in mind. In the world of electronics, that is true not just for physical sub-components, but also for the digital IP that helps make up ASIC designs.”
The whole process is much easier when developing a product based on Sondrel’s Architecting the future IP platforms such as the SFA 250A or SFA 350A for automotive applications as these use IP that is already verified to the ISO 26262 standard. In addition, both contain an independent FuSa monitor compliant to ISO 26262 ASIL D – ASIC Safety Subsystem (ASS) and have individual subsystems that are responsible for the detection and, where applicable, the correction of errors.
Graham Curren, Sondrel’s CEO added, “This is all part of our innovative Architecting the future approachof predesigning and prequalifying the IP platforms as much as possible so that all that is needed for a finished ASIC is to integrate the customer’s own IP or third-party IP. As a result, up to 30% of the design time and costs can be reduced as well ensuring an even faster time to market as a lot of the necessary qualification work on FuSa and ISO 26262 has already been done.”
FuSa can also be used to make the chips safer for other safety-critical application areas such as space, medical or aviation. Successfully designing for FuSa applications really is a state of mind. You need a deep, pervasive culture within the company from the management down. Anything that might compromise the safety in a design must be investigated and fixed, if necessary, even if it delays a project. It’s a total commitment to safety as lives could depend on it.