Standard 26262 could not be clearer: When developing systems with a bearing on safety, all tools used to support the process have to be taken into account. Volume 8 of the automotive safety standard stipulates that even the usability of software and tool chains must be validated.
Confident use of software tools – but are the tools reliable?
To ascertain whether software is usable, we use a multistage process. At each of three stages, we establish made-to-measure guidelines and reporting templates.
The chain of analysis includes:
- Planning of the software tools for a project. This involves drafting a list of software tools to be used for the project. This lists forms the basis of documentation in the safety plan, which should also include a tool validation plan.
- Classification of software tools pertinent to safety. To take possible hazards into account, we classify the reliability of software according to risk classes called tool confidence levels.
- Validation of safety-relevant software tools. If required, we will take care of the validation process.
Tool validating: efficiency, not over-engineering
To make the tool validation process more efficient, we never look at tools in isolation. We take in the broader picture and examine where the tool will be used. By striking the right balance, we ensure the cost of validating ideal functionality also remains reasonable.