Importance Of Certifications In Automotive IP

Continuously monitoring critical components and systems as part of functional safety.


The automotive industry is renowned for its unwavering commitment to enforcing strict standards for enabling safety, quality, reliability, and security. However, upholding stringent measures to ensure vehicle safety and reliability has led to the need for predictive maintenance i.e., using advanced monitoring and analytical techniques as a part of Silicon Lifecycle Management (SLM) to anticipate and prevent failures in semiconductor components.

Predictive maintenance is essential in the automotive industry for various reasons. Firstly, it helps reduce costs by identifying and addressing potential issues before they become significant problems, avoiding costly downtime, and optimizing maintenance budgets.

Secondly, it enhances vehicle reliability by continuously monitoring key components and systems, allowing early detection of faults or degradation to prevent unexpected breakdowns. Safety is also improved through predictive maintenance, enabling monitoring of critical systems, and identifying potential failures that could compromise vehicle safety. Moreover, it enhances customer satisfaction by proactively addressing maintenance needs and minimizing unexpected breakdowns. Predictive maintenance optimizes maintenance schedules, allowing for efficient planning, reduced downtime, and optimized resource allocation. Additionally, it facilitates condition-based component replacement, maximizing the component lifespan and minimizing unnecessary replacements.

Finally, the data generated by predictive maintenance provides valuable insights, enabling manufacturers to identify common issues, improve designs, enhance manufacturing processes, and refine product quality. Overall, predictive maintenance drives cost reduction, reliability, safety, customer satisfaction, and data-driven improvement in the automotive industry.

Fig. 1: Predictive maintenance: ISO 26262:5 is now a requirement.

The bathtub curve is a reliability engineering concept used to analyze the aging and degradation of automotive components. It consists of three phases: the early failure phase, the intermediate life phase, and the wear-out phase. Early failures occur due to design or manufacturing issues and are mitigated through testing and quality control. The normal life phase experiences a low and stable failure rate, while the wear-out stage sees an increasing failure rate due to wear, fatigue, and degradation. Maintenance, inspections, and proactive replacement of aging components help manage the wear-out phase. Understanding the bathtub curve aids in optimizing automotive reliability and longevity.

Fig. 2: Above: Traditional bathtub curve; Below: Actual curve observed.

This article focuses on the importance of continuously monitoring critical components and systems, which highlights the need for embedded monitor IP in silicon which measure not only environmental risks like process, temperature, voltage, etc., but also structural monitors which are used to measure margins, like the path margin monitor or the signal integrity monitor. This is the key step for predictive or proactive maintenance as a part of SLM.

ISO 26262 is an international standard that explicitly addresses functional safety in the automotive industry. It provides guidelines and requirements for developing safety-critical automotive systems, primarily focusing on electrical and electronic components. The importance of ISO 26262 lies in several key aspects:

Safety Assurance: ISO 26262 promotes a systematic approach to safety throughout the entire automotive development process. It establishes a framework for identifying, analyzing, and mitigating risks associated with potential hazards in vehicles. By following the standard, automakers, and suppliers can ensure that safety measures are incorporated from the early stages of design and development, leading to safer vehicles on the road.

Compliance with Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Automotive manufacturers are subject to various legal and regulatory requirements related to safety. ISO 26262 helps companies align with these regulations by providing a widely accepted and recognized set of guidelines. Complying with the standard demonstrates a commitment to safety and can facilitate the certification and approval processes required by regulatory bodies.

Risk Reduction and Liability Mitigation: Functional safety failures in vehicles can have severe consequences, including accidents, injuries, and loss of life. ISO 26262 aims to minimize the risk of such failures by providing a systematic approach to hazard identification, risk assessment, and risk mitigation. In addition, following the standard helps automotive companies mitigate potential liabilities by demonstrating due diligence in ensuring the safety of their products.

Industry Alignment and Collaboration: ISO 26262 provides a common language and framework for communication and collaboration among stakeholders in the automotive industry. It facilitates the exchange of safety-related information and knowledge between automakers, suppliers, and regulatory bodies. Consistent standard application across the sector promotes interoperability, harmonization, and transparency, improving safety practices and shared best practices.

Customer Confidence and Market Competitiveness: ISO 26262 compliance can enhance customer confidence in automotive products. Consumers are increasingly concerned about safety, and vehicles that meet the requirements of ISO 26262 are likely to be perceived as safer and more reliable. Additionally, adherence to the standard can provide a competitive advantage for automotive companies, demonstrating a commitment to quality, safety, and continuous improvement.

Considering these very specific requirements by the international ISO26262 governing body, Synopsys follows the following packaging requirements.

Fig. 3: Synopsys automotive IP package offerings.

All automotive monitor IP for TSMC nodes 7nm and 5nm at Synopsys today is automotive grade compliant, which means products meet or exceed the requirements outlined by the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC). Details regarding test methods and conditions are referenced in document AEC–Q100, Stress Test Qualification for Components.

Fig. 4: Synopsys AG requirements: Reduce risk and accelerate qualifications for automotive SoCs.

In summary, certifications ensure functional safety in the automotive industry. It promotes a systematic approach to risk management, compliance with legal requirements, and collaboration among industry stakeholders. By following the standard, automotive companies can enhance safety, mitigate liabilities, and build customer trust in their products. For more information on Synopsys SLM Automotive grade IP, visit our website.

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