Just about a year ago, I published a blog post about the emerging need for better functional safety and security in a wide range of electronic products. We recently held a webinar on functional safety and how we enable it, and this prompted me to think about the topic again. As I talked to our experts and heard feedback from customers, I realized that it is time to revisit safety. Although the webinar is the best source for the technical details, I’d like to give you a taste of the design and verification automation we provide for chips in safety-critical applications.
In the year since my original post, it is clear that functional safety has become more important not just to engineers, but also to end users. Autonomous vehicles remain a very hot topic, and several recent high-profile accidents have brought safety—of all kinds—to the forefront. It’s hard enough to address the challenges of proper self-driving operation even under ideal conditions. But imagine an alpha article flipping a memory bit, or an aging component misbehaving, or a cable breaking due to mechanical stress. Functional safety is all about the vehicle responding correctly to such failures, for example by slowing down and pulling off the road.