Functional safety

Functional safety

In-vehicle control systems are increasingly used to provide active safety functions, which simultaneously introduces significant risks in the event of their failure. The complexity and functionality of control systems in vehicles continues to increase, as do the challenges involved in designing and manufacturing safe vehicles.

Our engineers are skilled in the application of safety analysis techniques required by safety standards and provide control system software, training, leadership and guidance, and design reviews at all project stages.

Electronic programmable systems increasingly provide both active safety functions and functions whose failure may be unsafe. There has been a corresponding increase in the awareness and availability of standards intended to ensure safety. However, these standards need skill and experience to interpret and to apply within a program or organisation.
Ricardo has the right skills and experience to help you meet standards and ensure safety, whether you entrust the complete design and development to us or use our consultants on your projects.

We have experience in diverse application areas including:

  • Hybrid and electric vehicles
  • Gasoline and diesel powertrain controls
  • Transmission systems
  • Steer-by-wire applications
  • Chassis systems in the automotive, ground based vehicle and marine sectors

Key benefits of the Ricardo service

Ricardo has extensive knowledge of the most frequently used standards for safety critical system development and high integrity software, including:

  • ISO 26262
  • IEC 61508
  • MISRA standards
  • ISO/TR 15497
  • Automotive SPICE© (ISO/IEC 15504)

Ricardo sits on the MISRA steering committee, makes active contributions to MISRA standards and helped to develop ISO 26262 as part of the UK working group of experts.

We can use this knowledge to help you with comprehension, planning, compliance and independent assessment related to these and similar standards.

Our engineers are skilled in the application of the safety analysis techniques typically required by the safety standards, for instance:

  • Hazard analysis and risk assessment (also known as HARA or HRA) and hazard identification methods such as HAZOP and Functional Hazard Analysis / Functional Failure Analysis (FHA/FFA)
  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)

Ricardo can support you by performing these activities on your behalf or by:

  • Providing the necessary tools (see Software Tools for Control System Development)
  • Training
  • Leadership and guidance

Furthermore Ricardo can assist with effective design reviews at all stages of the evolution of your design, either independently or in conjunction with your own staff, and can provide expert advice on design for safety.

The robustness of your designs contributes significantly to safety therefore your development processes must also be sufficiently rigorous. Ricardo can help you achieve this, including meeting your integrity targets such as SIL or ASIL levels. We can provide consultancy services ranging from education, training and implementation assistance through to independent and objective process assessment and audit of you or your suppliers, right up to design and documentation of complete processes to meet your needs. We can provide an independent verification and validation service, and have a proven track record of High Integrity Software development. Our wide ranging skills can help you meet your legal obligations and the requirements of your clients, whether your software development involves traditional or model based techniques.