There is little doubt that the power of computing has profoundly influenced our everyday lives in highly visible and numerous invisible ways. Take a moment and think about some of the ways in which technology is integrated into our lives and you will realize the high degree of trust we unquestionably place in our electronic systems every day. Now think bigger, about application areas like automotive, medical, industrial, aviation and railways, where if systems fail or go wrong, how serious and potentially life-threatening the consequences can be. Trust in these applications is crucial and only possible because of functional safety: A system’s ability to detect, diagnose and safely mitigate the occurrence of any fault. We all acknowledge that the application of safety is critical, but how do we then balance safety and innovation in these rapidly transforming industries?
In July of last year, we introduced Arm Flexible Access, a completely new way of accessing our world leading SoC design portfolio, making it easier to innovate, experiment, and design SoCs. It provides access to a huge range of Arm IP, tools, models, and support, while also introducing a new payment model to reduce commercial constraints for the up-front design phase of a project. We have seen a great response to Arm Flexible Access and have been listening carefully to feedback from our customers. Something we have repeatedly heard, especially from our partners in the automotive, and industrial segments, is the request for key technologies for functional safety to be a part of this program.
It is for this reason that we are very proud to announce the addition of Arm Safety Packages for select IP within Arm Flexible Access, with the goal to make it easier for developers in the automotive and other safety-related industries to create SoCs and attain certification for industry safety standards. Arm Flexible Access already included a range of Safety Ready processor IP - a collection of Arm products that have been through various and rigorous levels of functional safety flows and development, and certified by external assessors. Safety Ready IP is a key foundation to enable the development of safety capable SoC systems, and we are now building on this strong foundation with the inclusion of Safety Packages.
Each market segment with safety requirements has an associated standard that systems need to be assessed against, for example ISO 26262 in the case of automotive, IEC 61511 and IEC 61513 for industrial. When presenting a system for assessment, you need to provide a Safety Case, outlining the safety goals for the system, and how the system and its component parts were designed to meet them.
Arm Safety Packages support the certification of systems which include Arm IP. It consists of a Safety Manual along with other reports and documents that outline how the IP should be used and evidence of its adherence to the standard, confirmed by an independent assessment. The documentation in the Safety Package is used by the system developer to help build the Safety Case for the system.
For select processors, the Safety Package also includes a Software Test Library (STL). STLs are a suite of tests which can be executed on the processor at start-up or during program operation to test the correct operation of its internal logic.
Two key markets that are undergoing rapid innovation and have requirements for functional safety are automotive and industrial. Arm Flexible Access with added safety can provide the right approach for designing SoCs for safety-related applications in these markets.
For this rapidly changing and disruptive market, Arm Flexible Access enables more experimentation for those designing innovative automotive systems, which may involve self-driving capabilities or electrification of powertrain, allowing developers to find the most efficient way of balancing functionality with the level of safety required. Different architectures and mixtures of IP can be accessed, evaluated, optimized redesigned to achieve the best solution, which can then be taken to certification more easily through the information included in the Safety Packages.
The digital transformation of automotive is also changing supplier relationships within the industry, and Arm Flexible Access can help with this too. New entrants are riding the wave of innovation, supplying innovative SoCs into the automotive industry, and through Arm Flexible Access, can make the best use of their resources to experiment and develop an optimized product. Existing vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers need to be more informed than ever about the potential for electronic systems in their future models, and Arm Flexible Access gives them a cost-effective way of internally evaluating different IP technologies and making them more educated consumers of SoCs from their suppliers.
To see the range of IP available in Arm Flexible Access suited for automotive applications, please visit our Automotive specific Flexible Access page.
The industrial sector is another where safety is a critical consideration, with electronic control units operating machinery to varying levels of safety requirements, from advanced autonomous robots to basic machining equipment. A factory needs to be as efficient as possible, maximizing its production potential whether it is a classic production line focused on one product or, as in the case of smart manufacturing, output is split across several products using a reconfigurable production line. Flexible, scalable, and efficient deployment of safety technologies is key to achieving efficiency while ensuring the safety of human workers.
As in the case of automotive, Arm Flexible Access enables experimentation and innovation for the OEMs making the electronic control units that can scale across different applications in the factory. Safety Packages are used not only by the developers of SoCs and control units, but by the system integrators and operators of the factories themselves, to build a Safety Case for the assessment and certification workflow described previously.
Functional safety is a key technology that enables the creation of a new range of applications and innovations that can change the world. Arm Flexible Access supports these innovations, accelerating the path to safety and enabling greater experimentation that will result in more optimal and capable systems for both developers and consumers.
For more information on Arm Flexible Access and to request a free consultation, please visit our Arm Flexible Access page.
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