Panel to Explore How Automotive Safety Keeps Pace With Technology and Complexity

  As the company providing Executive Leadership for the SAE 2015 World Congress & Exhibition in Detroit, Michigan, April 21-23, Honda and its partners...


As the company providing Executive Leadership for the SAE 2015 World Congress & Exhibition in Detroit, Michigan, April 21-23, Honda and its partners are providing a series of brief updates leading up to the event. The following is a blog post from Jay Joseph, assistant vice president, Dealer Communications and Training, American Honda Motor Co.


What's the worst that could happen? That's a tough question to ask in any situation, but it's an important consideration – sometimes the most important one. At SAE International World Congress in Detroit, on April 22, an FEV Innovation Forum seeks to address that specific question in a session titled "Vehicle Complexity is Booming, But is it Safe?"

The focus of the panel will be a discussion of the emerging field of the functional safety of electronic systems. Functional safety refers to how electronic systems work, how they work together, how they could fail, and what the consequences of those potential failures could be, if or when they occur.

Engineers from automakers and suppliers have developed standards to quantify those risk assessments. These standards serve as a common language and set of criteria, enabling consistent information across OEMs and suppliers.

Those risk assessments, based on the international standard ISO 26262, are expressed on the numerical scale of Automotive Safety Integrity Levels, or ASILs. If an assessment of a system yields a high ASIL score, it serves as a warning sign to vehicle development engineers that the risk should be avoided, possibly by redesigning the system. For example, if a new design for an electronic throttle control, or drive-by-wire accelerator pedal, has the potential to allow the vehicle to accelerate without the driver pressing the pedal (unintended acceleration), that would be considered an unacceptably high level of risk, and would require a redesign. Identifying and addressing that concern during development of a vehicle or system may help prevent crashes or injuries once the vehicle is in production.

Over time, it is expected that ASIL assessments will become stronger and more accurate, enabling earlier identification of risks, and allowing engineers more time to address issues earlier in the vehicle development process. This will allow risk assessments keep up with ever-faster development cycles, as vehicles continue to add more features, and the complexity to support all of those features continues to grow.

Despite the intense competition among automakers and suppliers, functional safety assessments are a great example of the industry working together for the benefit of everyone involved, especially our customers who need to have confidence that the vehicles they rely on every day will be reliable and dependable.




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