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Fit-for-Purpose Tools Needed for ISO 26262 Certification

Both the product development process and third-party tool “fit-for-purpose” certification are needed for Automotive ISO 26262.

By John Blyler, Editorial Director

Recently, Portland-based Jama Software announced a partnership with an internationally recognized ISO 26262 automotive testing body to obtain ISO26262 “Fit-for-Purpose” certification.  This accreditation will assure automotive OEM and suppliers that the workflows they follow to define, build and test automotive related products in the Jama tool suits meet critical functional safety requirements.

Derwyn Harris, Co-Founder and Product Manager, Jama Software

When asked the name of the testing body issuing the “Fit-for-Purpose” certification, Jama’s co-founder Derywn Harris replied that the well-known organization could not be named until the certification was issued. Further, he emphasized that the certification was less for the designers and more for the compliance folks who define the process and obtain their own certification.

“This is the big difference between “fit for purpose” and having an actual certification. We will NOT be ISO 26262 certified,” he explained.

So how exactly does this certification help? Customers seeking ISO 26262 certification must make sure the tools they use and the use cases within those tools are evaluated to determine the Tool Confidence Level (TCL) level for each workflow. The TCL is a function of the Tool Impact (TI) measure, which indicates the possibility of a development system failure based on the cause of a tool problem and the Tool Error Detection (TD). The TD measures the likelihood of a tools problem detection and finding a suitable workaround.

In simple words, tool vendors must be sure their software process is fit-for-purpose for functional safety development in alignment with ISO 26262 (functional safety standard for passenger vehicles).

For example, let’s assume that a company uses Jama software for traceability of critical embedded hardware-software safety requirements and associated tests. This company will have to demonstrate how they are actually using this functionality in their workflow and apply a TCL level to that flow. That TCL number along with other risk-related measures will provide a level of confidence that the tools are fit for automotive safety-focused development.


Figure: Here’s an example of traceability showing both upstream and downstream trace relationships.

Figure: Here’s an example of traceability showing both upstream and downstream trace relationships.

“While customers can do this themselves there are aspects of the tool development process they don’t have control of or visibility into,” notes Harris. “Hence they either need to audit the vendor or the vendor needs a certification. So, long story short, by Jama having a certification we save our customers time and cost.”

The traceability example is but one of many safety related system functions that companies may need to re-evaluate to gain ISO 26262 certification for their product development process. But traceability is a key process function needed for today’s robust design. Customers seeking ISO 26262 product certification are often blocked because the third-party tools they use are not ISO 26262 “fit for purpose” certified.

Originally posted on System Design Engineering

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