Monday, June 30, 2014

A matter of urgency: preparing for ISO 26262 certification

Yoshiki Chubachi
Yoshiki Chubachi
Guest post by Yoshiki Chubachi, automotive business development manager for QNX Software Systems, Japan

Two weeks ago in Tokyo, QNX Software Systems sponsored an ISO 26262 seminar hosted by IT Media MONOist, a Japanese information portal for engineers. This was the fourth MONOist seminar to focus on the ISO 26262 functional safety standard, and the theme of the event conveyed an unmistakable sense of urgency: “You can’t to afford to wait any longer: how you should prepare for ISO 26262 certification”.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Pak, a representative of MONOist, noted that the number of attendees for this event increases every year. And, as the theme suggests, many engineers in the automotive community feel a strong need to get ready for ISO26262. In fact, registration filled up just three days after the event was announced.

The event opened with a keynote speech by Mr. Koyata of the Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI), who spoke on functional safety as a core competency for engineers. A former engineer at Panasonic, Mr. Koyata now works as an ISO 26262 consultant at JARI. In his speech, he argued that every automotive developer should embrace knowledge of ISO 26262 and that automakers and Tier 1 suppliers should adopt a functional "safety culture." Interestingly, his argument aligns with what Chris Hobbs and Yi Zheng of QNX advocate in their paper, “10 truths about building safe embedded software systems.” My Koyata also discussed the difference between safety and ‘Hinshitu (Quality)” which is a strong point of Japan industry.

Next up were presentations by the co-sponsor DNV Business Assurance Japan. The talks focused on safety concepts and architecture as well as on metrics for hardware safety design for ISO 26262.

I had the opportunity to present on software architecture and functional safety, describing how the QNX microkernel architecture can provide an ideal system foundation for automotive systems with functional safety requirements. I spoke to a number of attendees after the seminar, and they all recognized the need to build an ISO 26262 process, but didn’t know how to start. The need, and opportunity, for education is great.

Yoshiki presenting at the MONOist ISO 26262 seminar. Source: MONOist

The event ended with a speech by Mr. Shiraishi of Keio University. He has worked on space satellite systems and offered some interesting comparisons between the functional safety of space satellites and automotive systems.

Safety and reliability go hand in hand. “Made in Japan” is a brand widely known for its reliability. Although Japan is somewhat behind when it comes to awareness for ISO 26262 certification, I see a great potential for it to be the leader in automotive safety. Japanese engineers take pride in the reliability of products they build, and this mindset can be extended to the new generation of functional safety systems in automotive.

Additional reading

QNX Unveils New OS for Automotive Safety
Architectures for ISO 26262 systems with multiple ASIL requirements (whitepaper)
Protecting Software Components from Interference in an ISO 26262 System (whitepaper)
Ten Truths about Building Safe Embedded Software Systems (whitepaper)

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