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Freedom from Interference – The practice in Industry!

Functional Safety

In the blog post ISO26262: Freedom from interference – What is that?, I explained the principle of Freedom from Interference. The example used was based on the automotive industry and the ISO 26262.
Now I would like to consider Freedom from Interference with respect to the industry sectors railway, aviation and automotive and share my industry experiences with you.

The following diagram shows Freedom from Interference without a relation to any functional safety standard. In the railway or automobile industry, the SIL or ASIL level of the less safety critical system is lower than the SIL level of the more safety critical system (e.g.: less safety critical: SIL1 / ASIL A, more safety critical: SIL 3 / ASIL D). In the aerospace industry, the DAL level of the less safety critical system is higher than that of the more safety critical system (e.g.: less safety critical system: DAL C, more safety critical system: DAL A).

Freedom from Interference

Aerospace industry

The aerospace industry is the industry sector where Freedom from Interference is most consistently applied. If a design is present in which e.g. A DAL C system can impact a DAL A system, then it must be demonstrated that effective measures have been taken to ensure that the DAL A system can work properly at all times. Measures can be:

  • Changes the system design so that no data and control flow is necessary between the DAL C and the DAL A system
  • Execution of the two systems on different hardware, thus creating a hardware interface between the DAL C and DAL A system and checking the input data from the DAL C system within the DAL A system
  • Verification of relevant parts of the DAL C system according to DAL A requirements
  • Architectural software measures to ensure that the DAL A system always is aware of the quality of the delivered data by the DAL C system. This is particularly useful when the DAL C and DAL A systems are running on the same microprocessor.

One of these measures or a combination thereof is to be used. The effectiveness the measure needs to be demonstrated to the authorities.

Railway industry

In the railway industry, the assessor from the railway authority validates the effectiveness of the measures taken. This independent assessment by government authorities is common between railway and aerospace. In the automotive sector there is a different approach.

Also in the railway industry it is the goal to implemented systems with different SIL levels on different microprocessors. This measure is considered as the most effective one. The effectiveness of the other measures is also similar compared to the aerospace industry.

Automotive industry

Compared to railway and aerospace industry, the implemented measurements with respect to Freedom from Interference, differ in the automotive industry significantly. Also there is no need for a proof of the measurements against a government authority. If a Tier 1 or 2 has to implement Freedom from Interference, a OEM audit is carried out. However, this can lead to conflicts of interest much faster compared to an audit by a governmental authority.

From my point of view, the automotive industry is more at the beginning of implementing measures with respect to Freedom from Interference in comparison to the other two industries. Many accept somehow plausible explanations as proof of sufficient independence of the systems. Explicit proof of Freedom from Interference, such as appropriate tests are made in some projects, but in general such a measure is seldom applied.

With regard to highly automated or autonomous driving, however, the topic is becoming increasingly important. The future will show what measures will fit best to demonstrate Freedom from Interference in the automotive sector.

ISO 26262 makes „only“ the statement that sufficient independence must be achieved.

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2 Gedanken zu „Freedom from Interference – The practice in Industry!

  1. Is this correct ?
    „checking the input data from the DAL C system within the DAL A system“
    Why the data of DAL C will be checked in DAL A and not the other way around?

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