Future Challenges That Traditional OEMs Face

This content has been presented during The ISO 26262 Digital Conference.

About David Blackburn, Bentley Motors: David is Technical Expert on Functional Safety at Bentley Motors Ltd. Previously, he was Functional Safety Manager for the company, where he was responsible for Functional Safety (ISO 26262) within the Electrical Engineering department and coordination of Functional Safety activities.

Presentation: David tackles how electrification specifics pose new FuSa challenges for traditional OEMs –from power trains to EV platforms, and from charging to Level 3 autonomy.

Companies also need a top down Systems Engineering approach to deliver the energy strategy required for future electrification.

The expectations of what automotive companies are, the products they put out, as well as the legal landscape surrounding them, are all changing. To some extent, this can be seen in how Tesla products have taken Tesla to reach a record market valuation over $800 billion.

So, as the automotive giant sets the trend for the upcoming years in terms of product, innovation, and the impact on regulation, what are the challenges that traditional automotive manufacturers face in terms of functional safety?

“The Norm”

Today, an automotive product needs to offer several safe innovations to keep up with industry trends and consumer expectations. Fully electrified powertrains, leading ADAS, and Autonomous Driving technologies –as well as over-the-air feature updates– have now become the norm.

On top of the above –besides paid-for features on demand, leading range, and fast charging– traditional OEMs must not lose touch from achieving full autonomy while working towards autonomous ride hailing and car sharing initiatives in the near future –It is all about stretching their ideas into new business fronts.

However, manufacturers have a series of challenges to offer customers a solid bundle of range, functionality, and safety, according to David Blackburn of Bentley Motors.

“Energy consumption of interacting systems and features needs to be fully understood and budgeted,” he says. Further, vehicles based on collections of separately developed systems and parts are unlikely to have optimum efficiency and electric range.

Charging: Given the consequences of a thermal event in this situation, Severity is likely to be high.

“Companies also need a top down Systems Engineering approach to deliver the energy strategy required for future electrification, coupled with large development costs.”

EV platforms have also brought their own set of hurdles as companies use them to scale the production of future, more innovative models.


One case study is that of VW Group, which sold 9,3 million vehicles in 2020 after turning to a completely new replacement platform for full electrification –the Modular Electric-Drive Toolkit, or MEB.

With this, the company looked for simplification by offering common powertrain and batteries to help scale electric vehicle production, and ease the transition from their Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB).

Ford jumped right in to strike a deal with the German automaker, seeking collaboration to deploy models in the European market, which are based on the MEB platform –a small SUV is due in 2023.

And this is where the different “users” of the platform –VW and Ford, in this case– traverse FuSa implications that Blackburn points to. “Each platform ‘user’ remains accountable for FuSa,” he says. As a large proportion of the vehicle developed out of context, there is a series of Safety Verification and Validation challenges regarding safety.

Likewise, in terms of leading range and fast charging, FuSa challenges revolve around new battery chemistries requiring predictable use and abuse characteristics to develop the optimum user experience, whilst maintaining a “safe” energy transfer strategy.

Further, besides Safe States for thermal runaway conditions for different battery types, the industry must develop safety strategies that interface to systems outside the scope of ISO26262.

Watch the complete presentation