A brief introduction to ISO 26262

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The ISO 26262 series of standards is an adaptation of the IEC 61508 series of standards needed to address the specific needs of the road vehicle sector.

ISO 26262 Standard Application

It covers the implementation of functional safety through electrical and/or electronic (E/E) systems, and presents a specific lifecycle for items used in the automotive sector.

Thus, it provides a reference for the automotive safety life cycle and supports the adaptation of activities to be performed during the lifecycle phases, i.e. development, production, operation, service and decommissioning.

The ISO 26262 standard provides an automotive-specific risk-based approach for determining integrity levels, i.e. Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASILs).

It uses ASILs to specify which of the requirements of ISO 26262 are applicable to avoid unreasonable residual risk, and, further, provides requirements for functional safety management, design, implementation, verification, validation and confirmatory measures.

Lastly, the standard provides the requirements for customer-supplier relationships.

ISO 26262 Safety Lifecycle

The ISO 26262 reference safety lifecycle encompasses the principal safety activities during the concept phase, product development, production, operation, service and decommissioning.

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The key management tasks are performed throughout the lifecycle:

  • Planning
  • Coordinating
  • Monitoring the progress of the safety activities

Further, even the responsibility to ensure that the confirmation measures are performed is part of the safety lifecycle.

The first fundamental piece to be considered along the ISO 26262 Safety Lifecycle is the HARA (Hazard and Risk Assessment Analysis).

Indeed, risk and hazard analysis is assessed in the early stages after item definition, so as to address safety goals and various design and performance requirements.

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What does ASIL mean for ISO 26262?

The HARA method aims at identifying and categorizing hazardous events of items, and also at specifying safety goals and ASILs (Automotive Safety Integrity Levels) related to the prevention or mitigation of the associated hazards in order to avoid unreasonable risk.