How to Assure Compliance with Stringent New Vehicle Safety Legislation

Posted by Greg Caswell on Sep 14, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Vehicle-Safety-Legislation.jpgThe automotive industry is rapidly changing. A number of technologies are either currently available or in development that are aimed specifically at improving vehicular safety. Along with these welcome – and needed – advancements comes much stronger regulatory oversight incorporated into ISO-26262.

That’s a burdensome and expensive proposition for automotive manufacturers using lengthy, traditional processes. However, transitioning to computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools – like Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ software – is a time and cost effective solution for reliability testing and ISO-26262 compliance.

Advanced Safety Features

Electronic innovations play a major role in automobile safety. Innovations are relying less on drivers’ reactions and more on technology in an effort to make roadways safer. Popular features that are making their way into newer automobile models include: 

  • Blind spot detection uses sensors that are incorporated into side mirrors to electronically alert a driver to vehicles located to the side and rear that may be out of the direct line of sight.
  • Cross-traffic alerts are often supplementary to blind spot detection technology, and make a driver who is backing out of a parking space aware of traffic approaching from the sides.
  • Parking assist systems use in-dash screens and button controls to steer a vehicle into a parking space with little to no help from the driver.
  • Adaptive headlights sense the vehicle’s steering direction and automatically adjust their beams to light up a driver’s actual path.
  • Automatic emergency breaking systems are designed to stop a vehicle before it collides with a car or another object.

Since these electronic systems largely remove the human element to improve safety, their reliability is absolutely essential.


To that end, the automotive industry’s governing legislation, ISO-26262, has recently been updated to include a new set of guidelines that address functional safety in vehicles’ electrical and electronic systems.

The updated mandates define an automotive-specific approach for determining risk classes and requirements, with manufacturers achieving compliance in accordance with ISO-26262 by:

  • Carrying out a hazard analysis and risk assessment
  • Creating a corresponding safety goal for each hazard
  • Evaluating, classifying and validating safety goals

The goal? Working to avoid failure over time, preventing recalls and reducing reliability risk.

Reliability Testing

ISO-26262 compliance means manufacturers must conduct more stringent safety and reliability tests.

Traditional design-build-test-fix (DBTF) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) processes unduly burden automotive manufacturers because:

  • DBTF and FEA are expensive and time consuming, especially since building physical prototypes to incorporate new safety technology is increasingly complex
  • Testing cycles often reveal failures late in the process, necessitating a complete prototype redesign, rebuild and retest
  • DBTF and FEA methods don’t appropriately align with dynamic automotive technology transitions resulting, in part, from the rise of hybrid and electric vehicles

On the other hand, CAE tools can efficiently evaluate the safety and reliability of vehicular electronics models to meet the new ISO-26262 guidelines – all without building physical prototypes or cumbersome testing.

Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ software employs the Physics of Failure (PoF) to accurately predict failures at the design stage. Sherlock offers the automotive industry a number of advantages:

  • Ideal testing conditions: Sherlock introduces vibration, shock and thermal cycling assessment and analysis to detect and prevent failures
  • Low cost: Sherlock allows designs to be improved early in the process, when incurred costs are lowest
  • Faster time to market: Sherlock eliminates testing cycles, efficiently predicting failure and assuring first-time compliance with safety legislation 

Find out what Sherlock can do for you! Request your free three-week trial now by clicking the button below.

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Topics: Sherlock, Physics of Failure

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