Safety-Critical Software Failure Analysis of Industrial Automotive Airbag System

Dr. M. Ben Swarup, K. Amaravathi


An airbag is a safety feature designed to protect passengers in a head-on collision. Modern cars are equipped with safety systems that protect the occupants of the vehicle. Airbags are one example of an occupant protection system. Although airbags save lives in crash situations, they may cause fatal behaviour if they are inadvertently deployed. This is because the driver may lose control of the car when this deployment occurs. In developing safety airbag systems for the automotive industry, potential hazard analysis techniques have to be applied to identify potential failure modes. The commonly used safety analysis techniques are FMEA (Failure Mode Effect Analysis) and FTA (Fault Tree Analysis). The basic design constraint for this application is we are considering the speed of the vehicle, frontal distance of the car as an input to the application. Considering all these inputs we are calculating the pressure of the crash and velocity of the car. If the pressure value crosses the threshold value then based on severity the airbag is going to be ignite. If the sensor fails to receive signal then it is passed to another safer sensor for ignition of airbag. At the same time the safety critical airbag system is simulated in MATLAB to provide safety to the system with safety sensor at the time of main sensor failure. Considering speed and velocity as inputs to simulation process, during impact we calculate some physical parameters such as change in speed and seat position of the occupant the airbag is activated to save life of occupant.

Keywords: safety-critical system, hazard analysis, failure modes, FMEA, FTA

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