Optima Design Launches, Focuses On Functional Safety

Startup offers fault analysis tools to meet automotive ASIL-D safety standards.


Autonomous driving is really happening. “Although a concept and dream for many automotive enthusiasts and engineers since the 1950s, now it’s really happening,” asserted Jamil Mazzawi, founder and CEO of Optima Design, which launched today.

“At the same time, everybody knows that if we continue to have accidents, like the Tesla accident or the Uber accident, this will not work. People will not trust it. Because of that, the issue of functional safety became very critical, which led to the creation of the ISO 26262 standard,” Mazzawi said.

Still, before the level of safety is achieved under which autonomous driving will operate, a number of issues have yet to be solved, he stressed. “The problem today is that it is possible to create ASIL-D chips only if these chips are relatively small chips; maybe small controllers, MCUs and so on. Once you go to bigger and bigger chips, like the ones needed for autonomous driving, if it is for AI chips, and so forth, the problem of creating safety on a big scale becomes problematic. And it’s not working today.”

This is why Tesla and Uber have fatal accidents, Mazzawi said.

The chips in those vehicle operate with redundancy, and the safety level is achieved in this way. “Everything is repeated twice to achieve safety. This method is copied from other safety-critical industries, especially aerospace. In aerospace, they can do nine times duplication. They don’t have problems with duplication because if you’re creating a spaceship that’s going to Mars or a satellite that’s orbiting Earth, or an airplane, all of them cost lots of money, hundreds of millions to billions. If you repeat some electronics many times, it’s not a problem. But when you go to automotive, all the costs of the car should be $20K to $30K. It’s very cost sensitive and it’s not possible to do these redundancies. That’s the challenge. How can we create safety at low cost, without compromising safety?”

To this point, Optima is offering three initial applications meant simplify the majority of the ISO 26262 analysis functions while increasing device risk tolerance and quality:
• Optima-HE: Hard error analysis.
• Optima-SE: Soft error analysis.
• Optima-SA: Structural analysis.

The tools were built from the ground up with a completely new algorithm at the heart, and promises dramatic improvements in semiconductor safety verification time and coverage for safety-critical applications, such as automotive semiconductor devices, Mazzawi said.

The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Nazareth, Israel. Optima is also the recipient of a European Union Horizon 2020 Grant of 2.5 million euro, as well as other financing.


Brian Logsdon says:

The AV industry does not even begin to comprehend the public’s issues with AV.

It is not that AV’s will have a accidents and will kill people…it is how the technology will decide which people to kill.

They haven’t publicly acknowledged that they are even looking at a moral decision tree.

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