Functional Safety For FPGA-Based Hardware Designs

Considerations for programmable devices in automotive and industrial applications.

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Advances in design and manufacturing technology allow increased factory automation, where tasks are automatically performed by sophisticated equipment such as industrial robots. Manufacturing processes require fail-safe mechanisms to prevent human injury or costly downtime. With increasing sophistication and automation of the manufacturing processes, there is increasing need for error detection and recovery methods. The design of industrial and automotive applications requires the integration of functional safety measures to ensure the system or equipment operates correctly. This includes safe handling of operator errors, hardware failures or environmental changes. These overall functional safety requirements are defined by the ISO 26262 standard for automotive and the IEC 61508 standard for industrial applications. Due to the re-programmability, long lifespans and high processing bandwidth, FPGAs are being used for industrial and automotive designs. This is requiring FPGA designers to provide for the addition of functional safety features within their designs.

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