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White Paper: Electronics & Computers

Automotive Functional Safety & Cybersecurity FAQs


Engineered systems inherently present risks to people, the environment, and equipment. However, two measures — functional safety and cybersecurity — can help to mitigate these risks.

Functional safety, as described by IEC 61508, involves automated safety systems reducing risks by ensuring that the equipment under control (EUC) maintains or achieves a safe state. This concept, when applied to automotive applications, adheres to the guidelines of ISO 26262. Emphasizing the importance of functional safety, especially for heavy-duty vehicles, it becomes clear that components must be designed with safety in mind.

ISO 26262 provides safety classifications known as Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASIL), ranging from non-critical (QM) to highly critical (ASIL D). These classifications determine how certain systems, such as electronic power steering in trucks, must be handled in terms of safety. The appropriate ASIL is often determined through a risk assessment, evaluating the severity and frequency of potential hazards. This risk assessment activity is crucial in the development process, pinpointing specific system parts that demand focused safety efforts.

Conversely, cybersecurity focuses on addressing threats stemming from electronic weaknesses. As per the ISO/SAE 21434 standard, it emphasizes the protection of road vehicle assets from cyber threats. This standard also introduces the Cybersecurity Assurance Levels (CAL), providing a framework to gauge the extent of cybersecurity needed for various components. Determining the appropriate CAL often comes down to a risk assessment, similar to its functional safety counterpart but focusing on threats instead of hazards.

In conclusion, both functional safety and cybersecurity play pivotal roles in modern automotive design. They not only ensure the safety of users but also bolster market acceptance and brand reputation. Ensuring compliance with ISO 26262 and ISO/SAE 21434 is essential for manufacturers and suppliers in today's automotive landscape. Download these Frequently Asked Questions for even more information!

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