A Guide to ASIL Certification and Why It Matters

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As we covered previously, certifications are important to amplifying safety in the evolving automotive industry. Specifically, ISO 26262 outlines requirements designated for electronic and software systems installed in vehicles. As a part of its purpose to ensure that people are protected while in their cars, it includes the ASIL framework. In this piece, we break down what that stands for, the guidelines it sets, how it benefits the industry and challenges it still faces.

Defining ASIL

Automotive Safety Integrity Levels, or ASILs, are essentially a tier of risk assessments. They are filed in four general categories, ranging from A to D. ASIL A indicates a low-risk level while ASIL D means that the function is “highly safety-critical,” as described by Jeff Shepard at Microcontroller Tips. For example, the steering control system would likely receive a D classification since it is so crucial to proper operation of the automobile. Meanwhile, an infotainment-related system would fall under A. If it failed to work, the driver would not be in jeopardy.

In order to determine the ASIL for a part of the car, three factors are examined. They are exposure, severity and controllability. Once those have been determined and a letter has been assigned, the standards of quality are set. In other words, “The higher the ASIL, the more work is required to be performed as more complex methods are highly recommended,” Ashutosh Chandel explains.

Advantages of ASIL

While decreasing the chance of risks is an obvious pro, one of the main benefits that ASIL certification provides the auto industry is an attempt at consistency. Synopsys points out that the ASIL framework lays out a process for managing and tracking requirements, which is important especially when considering the complexity of the supply chain. By basically presenting a comprehensive check list for auto developers to complete, the final products that they put on the market are then more reliable.

Challenges for ASIL

Despite being an overall great starting point, there are a few gaps that this certification program still must fill. In the image included in this post, we have depicted the various electronic control units (ECUs) that today’s cars consist of. The saturation of data and the interconnection that comes with this trend can make it more difficult to pinpoint where problems may lie. Developing tech can also blur the definitions of elements like controllability. As innovations like self-driving vehicles become more commonplace, it is likely that standards will have to be updated.

Why It Matters

In addressing automotive safety, addressing automotive cybersecurity will also be increasingly fundamental. The number of connected vehicles is projected to increase to over 400 million by 2025. The more connected cars become, the more they become vulnerable to the transforming cyber threat landscape. In addition to damaging finances or reputation, experiencing a cyberattack can ultimately compromise the safety of automobiles if critical systems are impacted.

Therefore, we are proud that the Dellfer Developer Toolkit is qualified to be used in safety-related software development according to ISO 26262 for any ASIL. As a solution to protecting IoT devices used in auto components, we see this certification as an achievement in both solidifying the role of our service and of automotive cybersecurity in broader industry criteria.

To learn more about the toolkit, visit https://dellfer.com/industries/automotive/.

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