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Check it Out: ISO 26262: Automotive Electronics Safety Management

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Software often inspires me to warp Shakespeare: “O Software, Software! All men call thee fickle.” Take my browser. It had a bad attitude today. After a reload and a system reboot, it now seems to be working. Sheesh, how’d you like your car’s software to work like that? Imagine your mechanic saying “Got the brakes on your Pierce Arrow working, Bill. I rebooted their software.” Yeow-suh.

Look, I’m not dumping on developers. Software is a complicated business, and it’s getting more so every day. That car you’re driving around is a software controlled and monitored electromechanical marvel. The integrity of its software translates directly into the safety of you and your passengers.


ISO 26262 is the developing functional safety standard that addresses the safety lifecycle of automotive electric and electronic systems in passenger vehicles. The standard embraces the entire development process. So, what we’re talking about here is safety management—how to achieve safety before a life-threatening event occurs. And that means determining risk classes, requirements specification, design, implementation, integration, verification, validation, configuration, and—the big one—traceability. Perhaps the most stringent requirement of ISO 26262 is that system manufacturers must provide evidence that all safety goals have been implemented and achieved. That means traceability throughout the engineering lifecycle—requirement definitions, models, tests, calibrations, validation, release, and so forth. This is where today’s Check It Out comes in.

Safety management and ISO 26262 are the subjects of a pair of short videos that have been excerpted from a larger on-demand webinar discussing Integrity, a PTC product, and the automotive electronics safety lifecycle. Integrity, I’m told, is the first development solution certified by TUV SUD to help automotive manufacturers streamline their compliance with ISO 26262 through automation and enforcement of safety lifecycle development processes.

The first video, “What is Safety Management?” is a brief (3:44) overview of what safety management in terms of ISO 26262 means for automotive OEMs and suppliers. This is the introduction—the clarifying video, if you please—that you need if you find yourself wrestling with increasing complex software systems while trying to map and adapt your process for ISO 26262 compliance.

Next is “The ISO 26262 Safety Lifecycle.” This video takes a bit less than 4.5 minutes to make the case that traceability in your process is achievable and worth the sweat equity to get it. Covered are the ISO 26262’s safety management components and lifecycle, as well as the steps in the system development process cycle of interest to the standard’s purview. It briefly introduces the concept of different traceability requirements for different stages of the process, such as validation and allocating requirements to system architecture elements. All of this links back to how Integrity can provide the traceability required for compliance.

Again, both videos are brief snippets of a larger on-demand webinar that covers these topics and more. The webinar is accessible from a link below either video. If you’ve been wondering about ISO 26262 and what you need to know to get started, wonder no more. You start here.

Watch “What is Safety Management?

Watch “The ISO 26262 Safety Lifecycle”

Thanks, pal.—Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About the Author

Anthony J. Lockwood's avatar
Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].

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