At last week’s ADAS & Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo, Validas highlighted an incredibly important part of the validation process for driver assistance and automated vehicle systems – tool qualification. This is imperative because if the tools used to validate an autonomous system are not safe, it may fail to achieve homologation. Validas states that it is the only company worldwide specializing solely in tool and library qualification, and runs a podcast on the topic, which is available on most podcast platforms such as iTunes and Spotify.
It employs a special purpose model-based development solution to perform tool verification, implementing a thorough and detailed qualification process, which is continuously built upon. In a nutshell, the program supports a systematic risk analysis, taking into account any possible errors that may occur when working with tools. This tool chain analysis solution automatically generates the required analysis report and a tool safety manual for the user. The tool safety manual contains all risk reduction tasks the tool user has to perform.
“ISO 26262 does not require tool qualification; it details how to obtain a Tool Confidence Level (TCL) to understand if tool qualification is needed,” explained Dr Oscar Slotosch, founder and CEO, Validas (pictured). “This means that if, for example, a tool has a Tool Confidence Level of 1, then it must be used carefully as it is not trustworthy. For example, using two different tools for the same purpose and comparing their results is a way to carefully use tools. However, it is more work to apply. Therefore it is usually better to have one trustworthy and qualified tool. Basically, it’s possible to combine two TCL1 tools or to use one TCL3 tool. Which is the best solution depends on the costs and effort of using the tools and eventually comparing results.”
Simply put, without safe tools, a safe system or vehicle cannot be built. Manufacturers are currently developing and homologating their automated lane keeping systems to be compliant with UNECE 157, which means business for Validas is thriving, as Slotosch said: “Last year we doubled our revenue – the more we specialize, the more we grow. Only five years ago when I visited the expo, it was clear that no-one understood tool qualification and Tool Confidence Level, but now everyone understands why they need this.”
According to Slotosch, it was a tremendously successful show for Validas; by the end, the supplier had run out of lead sheets. Visitors were said to have expressed their delight at having made contact with the company in Stuttgart.