Optima Safety Platform Overview
Automotive electronic device verification is the most rigorous and extreme of any semiconductor verification process today.
Safety concerns require that Integrated Circuits (ICs) used for automotive applications meet stringent safety standards, as specified in the ISO 26262 Automotive Safety Standard. Depending on their application, different devices must adhere to specific “Automotive Safety Integrity Levels” (ASIL) from A to D within the standard, with the safest device being ASIL-D. To achieve an ASIL-D rating, first the device requirements must be verified to an extremely high coverage or quality level in the “Systematic” flow. Then the device must also undergo an analysis to show that “Random” faults that can occur during normal operation due to environmental effects will not disrupt the device function.
Random verification involves injecting faults into a design to demonstrate that normal functionality is extremely unlikely to be disrupted. There are multiple fault types that need to be considered, such as transient faults (soft errors), stuck at faults (hard errors), and others. Faults are classified by the danger they may pose as well as other factors. The different sections of the design in which the faults may occur are also important (for example, memories versus logic flip-flops, etc.). Various verification approaches are required for these different fault types, and these approaches are generally based on fault simulation as a mechanism to analyze fault effects.
Traditional fault simulation has proven woefully inadequate to meet the performance demands of automotive safety analysis. Originally designed to meet the needs of semiconductor manufacturing test analysis, these tools use technology typically 30 years old and designed for a different purpose. Optima is targeting this issue directly with its Optima Safety Platform.
THE OPTIMA SAFETY PLATFORM
The Optima Safety Platform (OSP) today consists of three overall solutions that provide self-contained apps for different fault analysis phases. These are driven from Optima’s core technology, the Fault Injection Engine (FIE™). The OSP dramatically improves analysis performance by orders of magnitude, and this has made new analysis functions possible that demonstrate clear adherence to the ISO 26262 standard in a fraction of the previous time, while also simplifying the verification process and increasing device quality.
Optima’s FIE uses a different approach to fault analysis that provides the exact same data without the associated runtime overhead. In benchmarks, this solution has been proven to complete very large fault simulation runs orders of magnitude faster than the nearest competitor, dramatically changing the dynamics of the entire Random verification process. Months can be shaved off of development schedules, often at a point where time-to-market pressures are extreme.
The Optima Safety Platform uses the FIE to drive a series of solutions, or apps, that target specific scenarios.
- Optima-SA™: Structural Analysis is automated to provide a clear understanding of the device faults that could prove dangerous and require analysis.
- Optima-HE™: Hard Error (or permanent fault) analysis is accelerated dramatically to allow for a complete analysis of a device to be performed in days rather than months for a large chip. In addition, the achieved coverage is automatically improved via Optima’s CoverageMaximizer™ technology, which identifies and provides solutions for otherwise complex problems.
- Optima-SE™: Soft Error (or transient fault) analysis may now be completed in a reasonable time. This app makes use of the high performance FIE to iteratively “harden” a design’s flip-flops, to maximize resistance to soft errors with a minimal number of modified components, minimizing device power consumption and silicon area.
The Optima solution is in use today at leading automotive semiconductor companies and is rapidly gaining acceptance throughout the industry.