By Chris Giles • September 14, 2021
Several years ago, I posted a job opening for a Design Engineer. To my surprise, a few of the responses I received were from individuals in the fashion industry, looking for a fashion design position. Apparently, I didn’t write the job description well enough. Actually, on second thought, I think I did but those fashion types who applied probably assumed that I mistakenly listed the job as microprocessor design and that the job really was about designing pants. But I digress. Design is admittedly a very vague word. It means a lot of things to a lot of people. So, let me be perfectly clear – in the context of the rest of this entry, when I say design, I mean digital hardware design. Clear?
Moving on, I’d like to propose that most of us know bad design when we see it. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge comes to mind. Or the 8-track tape. Or bell-bottom pants. But I digress. So, why do we know bad design when we see it? Probably because it fails to achieve its intended purpose – sometimes spectacularly. We don’t often notice good design because it just does what it’s supposed to do. We only really notice good design if it does what it is supposed to do exceptionally well! But bad design – in the least it’s annoying and at its worst the result is magnificently expensive in one of many possible ways.
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By Jake Wiltgen • September 20, 2021
ISO 26262 remains the state of the art standard guiding the development of electronic and electronic systems destined for the automobile. By 2030, some estimate that the BOM of a vehicle will be 50% electronics and electronic components. Regardless, ISO 26262 has solidified itself as the backbone of the safety lifecycle for semiconductor companies. The standard is far reaching, delivering guidance from concept to decommission across OEMs, Systems Integrators and Suppliers. For suppliers, the guidance is focused into three areas:
- Lifecycle Management: The process and governance required within the lifecycle
- Systematic Failures: The activities and work products required to ensure the component operates per the requirements
- Random Failures: The activities and work products required to ensure the component fails safely when a random failure occurs
Lately, much of the attention is given to the activities surrounding Lifecycle Management and Random Failures (also known as Random Faults). This is likely due to these two pillars being new challenges for many semiconductor companies moving into the automotive market. However, it is important to not discount the challenges faced within the systematic failures pillar, especially as the exponential growth in IC complexity challenges even the most veteran IC teams in delivering a bug and defect free device. As a recap, systematic failures are failures which are due to design bugs, manufacturing defects, missing functionality, etc…
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