HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Electronic News & Comment
MCU Vendors Tackle Electronic Safety
9/21/2011

Renesas's automotive safety MCU line includes devices for chassis, dashboard, body, and car audio applications.  (Photo courtesy of Renesas Electronics)
Renesas's automotive safety MCU line includes devices for chassis, dashboard, body, and car audio applications.
(Photo courtesy of Renesas Electronics)

Return to Article

View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Greg Stirling
User Rank
Platinum
MCU Vendors Tackle Electronic Safety
Greg Stirling   9/22/2011 3:20:02 AM
NO RATINGS
I expected this subject would come up sooner or later with microprocessors now controlling the functions of automobiles.  PLC's have been used for years to control elevators and amusemnet park rides.  Generally for critical situations such as this, there are two PLC's and they monitor each other in a 'watchdog' configuration.  There are few if any failures in these systems that can be traced back to the controller...  I have been in the automation business for 30 years and have never seen a PLC fail or had to replace one.  Obviously this same robustness needs to be applied to embedded automotive control systems.  And work under many varied modes and enviromental conditions.  No easy task.

 

Jason
User Rank
Gold
Re: MCU Vendors Tackle Electronic Safety
Jason   9/22/2011 9:27:53 PM
NO RATINGS
While it is no easy task right now, with the advances in electronics and chips, it will not take long for it to become easier.

 

MCU's are becoming the working horse of industry.  As their reliability and acceptacle occurs, it won't be long before they are in everything.  As long as Engineers keep in mind that they need to implement code to compensate for the lack of inherent robustness that the MCU lacks versus PLCs, MCUs are a very strong contender.

mr88cet
User Rank
Silver
>Functions Too
mr88cet   9/30/2011 1:21:47 PM
NO RATINGS
It's also worth mentioning that functions have not historically been viewed as safety-critical are increasingly regarded as such.  Engine control is one example of that.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
MCU vendors tackle electronic safety
William K.   10/4/2011 9:40:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Control system safety has always been a vital part of control systems, and in times past it was mandatory that the emergency-stop system not depend on any programmable logic. The reason is clear, not that the hardware was unreliable, but that the software could be corrupted. That was acknowledged by all involved, and the rules written accordingly.

Now we get to where there are all kinds of software controlled functions in a car, with quite a few of them being important to vehicle safety. This has certainly increased the probability that a failure coud have very bad results. After only a few dozen unexpected acceleration incidents it has become apparent that perhaps some effort should go toward guarding against software failures. Of course, only a fool would release a system whose "emergency stop"function was dependant on part of the software in the control program. Those responsible for assuring the safety of cars on the road should have refused to allow the sale of any vehicle that could not be switched off manually in the event of a control program failure. IT would seem that economic considerations were far more important than user safety. In this case especially, providing an "emergency stop" function would not have added any major cost to the system and it would have shown due dilligence in providing a safety feature.

So now the makers of the automotive systems are at last admitting that things can fail, at least a bit, on occasion, and so they have decided to provide a means to reduce the effect of a failure. This is certainly good, and it should benefit all. But I still would demand that all vehicles have a means to shut the engine off, independent of the control program. And I don't believe that is at all paranoid, not one bit.

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Electronic News & Comment
A Design News course on field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) should help engineers who are considering the technology for their upcoming designs.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
If you're planning to develop a product that uses a microcontroller, you'll want to take note of next week's Design News Continuing Education course, "MCU Software Development – A Step-by-Step Guide."
The diesel engine, long popular on European roads, is now piquing the interest of American automakers.
As more electric cars and plug-in hybrids hit the highways, the need for battery chargers is growing.
Design News Webinar Series
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 22 - 26, MCU Software Development – A Step-by-Step Guide (Using a Real Eval Board)
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service