Thought Leadership

Safety-Critical Design

By Dennis Brophy

Mentor Joins Arm® Functional Safety Ecosystem

arm-fusa-st-partnerMentor is pleased to join the Arm Functional Safety Partner program to bring our knowledge and expertise to help mutual customers get to market faster while meeting their functional safety requirements.

The world’s most pressing and challenging designs are those that embed more intelligence and sophistication in them than we have ever seen in the past.  Today’s systems strive to go beyond simply augmenting human tasks; they are being built to support replacement of direct human interaction.  Functional safety is no longer a feature that can be added in or tested later; it has become a key element of design success up front.

Early Days of Safety-Critical Design

We know safety-critical design is not something new.  In times past, sneak circuit analysis was used to uncover hidden current paths to prevent undesired actions.  The joke is you only turned on the car lights, but the windshield wipers flapped too!  While humorous, much graver consequences might come if an airplane deployed its landing gear only to find the cargo door opens as well.  These large systems – that could put human life at risk if they fail – have used system analysis techniques to help prevent inadvertent modes of operation for some time.

In today’s world of design, complex systems that have functional safety concerns are not the domain of aviation only.  Other forms of transportation are quickly gaining features to support autonomous operation.  Medical devices and industrial applications also share human life-critical aspects that have safety-critical challenges.  This has led to the establishment of safety-critical practices like DO-254, ISO 26262, IEC 60601, and others.

Arm Functional Safety Partner

As I mentioned, Mentor is please to join the Arm Functional Safety Partnership program.  The explosive growth in safety-critical designs is facilitated in no small part by the adoption of ever more complex Arm products that power edge solutions, embody connect everything methods, support safe and secure compute and usher in adoption of artificial intelligence through machine learning.  A cornerstone to Arm’s success has been the open and collaborative stance it takes to embrace ecosystems to support their initiatives to drive your time-to-market imperatives.

Mentor’s commitment to Arm’s Functional Safety Partnership Program is in keeping with our strong pledge to ensure Arm-powered products thrive in your safety-critical applications.

Mentor, as part of the Siemens Digital Software Industries, brings a broad portfolio of products to serve suppliers, systems integrators and OEMs within safety-critical markets. Our holistic view of functional safety starts at product conception and goes through product development to product decommissioning.  We created Mentor Safe to deliver a portfolio of products that are suitable for use in safety-critical markets and provide seamless integration and automation across technology deployed in the many phases of a product development lifecycle.  I invite you to take a closer look at what we do and the Arm Functional Safety Partner program.

Functional Safety Impact on Design

I am reminded by Harry Foster’s blog on Safety Critical Design Practices (March 2017) that design with functional safety considerations will add to the complexity of a design.  This added complexity can increase your verification burden.  As Harry pointed out, it is not clear that design with functional safety in mind improves design quality (I’ll add “yet” to that).  The hope is, initiatives like Arm’s Functional Safety Partnership program will help reduce this burden, improve quality and shrink your time-to-market.  I can’t wait to see Harry’s next survey update to learn if we have made progress on that front.  For the moment, what I do know is, with Arm, we are taking positive steps to address your functional safety needs.

Want to Learn More?

Join us at Arm TechCon (October 8-10, 2019 at the San Jose Convention Center) at booth #737 to discuss this in person.  We have a broad range of activities planned and a full agenda for the three days.  We look forward to seeing you!


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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at