ISO 26262 will define and diversify automotive functional safety

What is on the horizon for the automotive industry as technical development outpaces established safety standards? By Christopher Dyer

The ISO 26262 standard remains critical for automotive manufacturers developing new vehicles and seeking to establish a secure and reliable identity for their brands. The standards were initially implemented in 2011 to protect critical electrical components of the vehicle’s management and monitoring system.

Special report: Functional safety in road vehicles (ISO 26262)

Since then, it’s forced the industry to unify the safety and reliability standards of its electronics, which has yielded impressive results in the following decade. A 2021 McKinsey study found that while the complexity of onboard software and electronics has quadrupled since 2010, reliability has increased by 60% over the same period. However, the standard may be growing outmoded. Software is quickly usurping traditional microchips as the industry shifts towards fully software-defined architectures, something the standards are unable to deal with effectively, despite updates to the standard as recently as 2018.

ISO 26262 has yielded impressive reliability results for the automotive industry's electric components

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