PCB Development Safety Standards for Autonomous Vehicles

December 22, 2020 , in Automotive, Blog

When you are on the way to work in early morning traffic, do you ever consider whether you will actually arrive? Most likely, you are preoccupied with other matters and give little thought to your safety. Instead, you rely on the fact that the manufacture of your vehicle must meet regulatory standards and follow guidelines that coupled with your alertness will ensure your transport is secure. Without such rules and regulations, driving would be a much more precarious undertaking.

Every year the level of autonomy of automobiles increases, which means that safely getting from place to place depends less and less on the driver. Putting ego aside, this trend will undoubtedly lead to far fewer accidents. In fact, in the near future, you will be able to travel and not give any concern to the vehicle’s operation. Achieving this freedom does necessitate that the safety standards for autonomous vehicles and subsystems, including electronics and PCBAs, continue to be developed with safety as the highest consideration. Let’s take a look at autonomous vehicle safety requirements and how these impact the PCBA development process.

Autonomous vehicle without manual driver safety backup

The highest safety standard for autonomous vehicles

When you are on the way to work in early morning traffic, do you ever consider whether you will actually arrive? Most likely, you are preoccupied with other matters and give little thought to your safety. Instead, you rely on the fact that the manufacture of your vehicle must meet regulatory standards and follow guidelines that coupled with your alertness will ensure your transport is secure. Without such rules and regulations, driving would be a much more precarious undertaking.

Every year the level of autonomy of automobiles increases, which means that safely getting from place to place depends less and less on the driver. Putting ego aside, this trend will undoubtedly lead to far fewer accidents. In fact, in the near future, you will be able to travel and not give any concern to the vehicle’s operation. Achieving this freedom does necessitate that the safety standards for autonomous vehicles and subsystems, including electronics and PCBAs, continue to be developed with safety as the highest consideration. Let’s take a look at autonomous vehicle safety requirements and how these impact the PCBA development process.

Safety Requirements for Autonomous Vehicles

The manufacturing of automobiles is a mature industry. As such, there are many regulations and standards in place that govern automotive systems and their reliability. The approach to autonomous vehicle (AV) development taken by the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) has been to garner input from a number of stakeholders (including automakers, the US Congress, and the public) and publish guidelines to ensure that safety and other concerns are primary factors.

This policy was enacted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the USDOT through the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy in 2016. This document laid out the agency’s strategy as it relates to this new technology, as shown below:

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is committed to facilitating a new era of transportation, innovation, and safety and ensuring that our country remains a leader in automation. USDOT is acting as a convener and facilitator, partnering with a broad coalition of industry, academic, states and local, safety advocacy, and transportation stakeholders to support the safe development, testing, and integration of automated vehicle technologies.

Subsequently, three updates have been issued:

2017 Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety

Provides guidance to states for enacting legislation and offers considerations for design and testing of level 3 thru level 5 AVs.

2018 Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0

This document is focused on three areas:

      1. Advancing multi-modal safety
      2. Reducing policy uncertainty
      3. Outlining a process for working with U.S. DOT

2020 Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0

The focus of this document is as follows:

      1. USG AV principles
      2. Administration efforts supporting AV technology growth and leadership
      3. USG activities and opportunities for collaboration

As these three documents illustrate, the goal is to promote and foster the advancement of AV technology by including all stakeholders to ensure safety and acceptance. Now, let’s see how these principles can be preserved in the development of the systems that drive AV technology.

Building PCBAs to meet the Safety Standards for Autonomous Vehicles

Vehicle automation covers a wide range of functionality. For example, cruise control, which has been around since 1958, is an autonomous feature that relieves the driver of the need to monitor speed. A newer development, adaptive cruise control, automatically decreases speed to maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead. Today, AV features include lane control, recognizing street signs, and even communicating with other vehicles to improve safety. What these and many other AV features share in common is a reliance on systems comprised of electronics and PCBAs. Therefore, the quality of your PCBA development process directly determines the safety of the vehicle in which the boards are deployed. Meeting this responsibility requires that you institute safety standards for autonomous vehicle PCBA development, as listed below.

Safety Standards for Autonomous Vehicle PCBAs

  • Institute a quality management system (QMS) in accordance with IATF 16949
  • Ensure all components have passed suggested AEC failure testing
  • Ensure your CM’s DFM is in accordance with IPC-6012DA specifications
Tempo's Custom AV & EV Automotive PCBA Manufacturing Service
  • ISO-9001, IPC-600, and IPC-610 commitment to quality certifications.
  • Accurate quote in less than a day.
  • DFX support, including DFM, DFA, and DFT from Day 1 of design.
  • Entire turnkey PCB manufacturing in as fast as 4 days.
  • Agile manufacturing process to quickly adapt to fast-evolving EV and AV industry.
  • Extreme temperature environment targeted manufacturing.
  • Board cleaning and protection techniques to avoid contamination and premature failure.
  • Use reliable supplier component sourcing for quality, reliability, and traceability.
  • Performs multiple automated inspections during PCB assembly to ensure quality for prototyping and low volume production.

By following the list above, your PCBA development process will be guided safety standards that will meet the necessary standards for AVs. At Tempo Automation, we are experienced in building high-quality, high-performance boards for automotive systems; including EVs and AVs.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on safety standards for autonomous vehicles, contact us.

 

 

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