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SME Interview: How to Achieve Functional Safety Success with LHP and NI

SME Interview: How to Achieve Functional Safety Success with LHP and NI

-An Interview with Steve Neemeh From LHP Engineering Solutions

Recently, I sat down with our very own Steve Neemeh, president of LHP Software Solutions and chief solution architect, and had a conversation about functional safety and ISO 26262, and why this standard is so important for the automotive industry. Want to thank our friends at NI as they published this video as part of the NI Automotive Exchange event during a technical breakout session titled Demystifying Functional Safety.

Watch the full interview now or read our transcript below, I hope you find this information helpful!

How to Achieve Functional Safety Success?

Marty Muse: Hi, everybody, Marty Muse here, VP of Marketing at LHP. I'm sitting here with Steve Neemeh, the president of the LSS division within LHP. And we're excited to be talking to everyone today.

We wanted to get right to the point and talk about ISO 26262. Steve, I just want to jump right in here and ask: We've got this standard, and from your professional experience, why is it so important?

Steve Neemeh: I think there is a movement going on in automotive when we see it all over the news, with electric vehicles and autonomy and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Within that, what's happening is, the vehicles themselves are changing their purpose. Their purpose was pleasure and transportation, and the drivers would enjoy that. Now we're kind of removing that. We're going to high-voltage situations with electric vehicles, and we're automating the driving situation.

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ISO 26262 is a guideline that resembles other industry guidelines that deal with safety-critical applications, and vehicles are becoming safety-critical; meaning that we are taking certain things out of the hands of human beings and doing it for them.

Today, you will see most cars have ADAS features, like a blind spot detector and lane keeping assist. And those are just the beginning of it. Of course, you're hearing in the news as recently as this year about full autonomous. And that's the foundation of how to develop safety-critical systems, based on things that have existed for a long period of time in other industries.

Marty Muse: Specific to automotive testing, how does the standard affect automotive testing?

Steve Neemeh: That's a great question! If you go back to the past, once again, there have been times when large changes are made in the way vehicles are developed. If you think about crash testing and crumple zones, those are things that are just standard today. Now, with the autonomy and electric vehicles, where you are taking the control out of the human hands, all of a sudden, a lot of other things become really important.

How-do- LHP-NI- achieve-Functional-Safety- ISO 26262-Success

This goes all the way down to the formality of testing of the features that you are putting in the vehicle which is driving your children around. Also, even providing guidance to the driver, like a backup camera and all of those things. The formality by which you're testing required a different format than exists today.

I think that's where ISO 26262 drives this thing into the testing that were not required before.

Marty Muse: Yes. So, this feels like maybe bumper to bumper. The entire vehicle is under subjection to the standard. Is that true? 

What parts of the vehicle are relevant to the standard versus maybe parts that are not?

Steve Neemeh: Right, it's an interesting question also. The standard is written for electronic system and software. So, you can think about any parts of the vehicle that are electronic or software. Now it is debatable in some cases, whether a battery is electronics or mechanical system. But the battery controller definitely is. And if the vehicle is moving towards electric, the engines are going away; pretty much everything (other than some drive components) is electronic or has electronic parts, including from the motor to the driver, virtually the whole vehicle. Maybe not the chassis and some windows. But again, those are all done through a touch panel now, right?

If you think about a Tesla touch panel, everything, electronics or software related is impacted by ISO 26262.

Marty Muse: Let me change gears here and ask about this perhaps from your experience. What are some common misconceptions about the standard (ISO 26262)?

Steve Neemeh: I have been working on it for a few years now. The amazing thing is that I don't think it becomes de facto yet in the thought process of the automotive companies. And the biggest misconception is that it is something I need to do on top of what I am currently doing.

Instead, that needs to be replaced by: It is a design philosophy that I use for safety-critical applications, which are now vehicles. 

An example I can give is that of going out to the marketplace to buy very simple components like relays. They say in the spec sheets, "not for safety-critical applications." So what they do for safety-critical applications is design it to a better tolerance. Then they get to last longer. They make it fail a certain way. And so, just a thought process behind how you design the systems and the vehicle is really the important part of functional safety. The misconception I'm seeing is that it's just something I need to do on top or just paperwork and add to what I currently do. That's the biggest misconception, I think.

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Marty Muse: Maybe let's peel back the onion another layer here and dive into LHP. What does the LHP workflow look like?

Steve Neemeh: If you point down the line and assume that we're going to have autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles across the US, and it's already happening, but millions and millions and millions of lines of code are going to be added to the vehicle.

The focus then really needs to be on how to validate all that. That's sort of when I come in, but the focus needs to be on safety, standardization, and automation.

That's why we've selected the parts of engineering we believe should focus on those three major aspects of things. In an attempt to transform the engineering organizations we help, we focus on the things that will make them successful eventually in the release of those kinds of products. Some of the examples are automation in the test equipment side, like AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture (AUTOSAR), and the standards and regulations that are out there. Those are just some of the examples.

We've come up with a cohesive method, and we believe it is the important aspects of that for safety, automation, and standardization, which we think are going to be key to the future of automotive.

Marty Muse: Great! So, we are thankful that NI is a partner of LHP. So how do NI's products ensure functional safety?

Steve Neemeh: That's a great question also.

So, NI provides test automation equipment, and they've got a series of different cars and tools and software that you use for automating tests. Then, in past lives, in different industries, I've seen, especially in the safety-critical ones, that NI is pretty de facto, in terms of the equipment being used. NI will build the equipment for our specific applications and use it to automate testing that would otherwise be manual.

And, you know, in the examples I've had, in the past, the tests take two days, and now, take two hours. When you've got millions of lines of code, you no longer have a choice for manual. You no longer have a choice for not doing regression testing on features you're not changing. You have to do it. If you were to do that manually, it just becomes a business case you can no longer use.

NI provides the automation equipment, the foundational pieces that you can build into your system, tied to your application lifecycle management (ALM) system, for example, to manage requirements and validate those requirements right there in the lab before you take it to the field. So, imagine a vehicle with hundreds of millions of lines of code, and someone driving it, attempting to validate those lines. It is not feasible. And NI is the heart of the automation of that testing.

eBook: Adopting functional safety; an executive-level view. Download now!

Marty Muse: Awesome. Awesome.

I know they're a valued partner, and we appreciate the opportunity. If somebody wants to get a hold of you, Steve Neemeh, or get a hold of your team here at LHP, what's the best way to do that?

Steve Neemeh: You can just go straight to the website and contact us, and then you will go straight to my top salesperson directly. Recently, there have been really good changes to the website that show the different solutions we offer.

Just getting on the website, contacting us, or even contacting you directly, Marty Muse. I think that is the right way to go.

Marty Muse: OK, great. Well, Steve Neemeh, it has been a pleasure talking to you. Once again, I appreciate your time today, and hopefully we have provided some value to your audience. Thank you for your time.

Steve Neemeh: Thanks, Marty Muse. Thanks, NI!


To get in touch with an LHP team member, reach out to our team today! 



Interviewee: Steve Neemeh 

steveSteve joined LHP in 2015 to lead the expansion of the west coast operations. He is the leader of the strategy and solutions architects as well as president of the delivery consulting organization. Steve has over 25 years of Functional Safety experience prior to joining LHP. Steve has launched multiple start-up operations and has taken them to full production.

Notably, a complete ground up electronics and software development group to service commercial aerospace electronics and military vehicle power electronics. For LHP, Steve pioneered the implementation of safety critical applications in California, launching functional safety for autonomous driving applications as well as air mobility.


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