A couple of months ago, I wrote about ISO 26262 and the changes that this was forcing on the chip development process. (Spaghetti versus ISO 26262 https://www.eejournal.com/archives/articles/20141125-iso26262).
Many of the chips used in vehicles use ARM processor cores, particularly the Cortex-R5, and today ARM has announced that it is making available a safety document set that provide developers with the information needed to demonstrate that their products are suitable for use in systems that meet the highest level (ASIL-D) of safety.
To do this, ARM went back over the entire development process, from initial specification through to final verification. This has been time consuming but as well as providing the material for the Cortex-R5, it confirmed that the development process was robust. It also means that the procedures are in place to produce the safety document sets as part of the normal development process for future cores.
The documentation can also be used for the core safety standard, IEC 61508 and other industry specific standards, such as IEC 62304 for medical products and DO-178 for defence.
As well as hardware, ARM is also supporting software. The ARM compiler is now certified by TUV-SUD as being appropriate for developing software for systems up to ISO 26262 ASIL-D and IEC 61508 SIL-3. Also within the R5, and other cores are functions like memory protection designed for safer software.
During the briefing Chris Turner of ARM came up with something that I hadn’t thought of. One of the consequences of ISO 26262 is that there is now a common process and language that runs through the automotive industry, from the manufacturers like Audi and Mercedes, down to the lowest level of suppliers – something that has never existed. This can only be a good thing.