revolutionizing road safety chinas leap in vehicle standards 384

Science and Technology

Revolutionizing Road Safety: China's Leap in Vehicle Standards


Benjamin Hughes

March 15, 2024 - 01:45 am


Pioneering Advances in China's Automotive Safety: A Dual Focus on Functional Safety and SOTIF

DUBLIN, March 14, 2024 — has recently augmented its repertoire with the addition of the comprehensive "Global and China Automotive Functional Safety and Safety of the Intended Functionality (SOTIF) Research Report, 2024." This insightful document presents a thorough analysis of the functional safety standards shaping the automotive industry, particularly in the spheres of intelligent connected vehicles and autonomous systems.

A New Era of Vehicle Safety

In a world where the automotive industry is gravitating towards intelligent connectivity, rapid advancements in electronic and electrical architectures (EEA) have made leaps forward. However, these strides bring with them heightened risks associated with electronic and electrical failures. This new technological landscape has amplified the significance of automotive functional safety and SOTIF, garnering particular attention in the autonomous vehicle sector.

China's Regulatory Response

Recognizing these emerging concerns, China's standards and policies have catalyzed the advancement of functional safety and SOTIF within its borders. The GB_T 34590 2022 functional safety standard represents a cornerstone of this movement, having been formally put into action on July 1, 2023. However, this is just one facet of the multi-dimensional approach undertaken by Chinese authorities to address these critical considerations.

In the same vein, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT) published the 'Guidelines for the Construction of National Internet of Vehicles Industry Standard System (Intelligent Connected Vehicles) (2023)' in July of that year. This directive meticulously orchestrates the future establishment of functional safety and SOTIF standards, fostering a clear regulatory environment for continued innovation and technological integration.

August 2023 heralded a joint notice from the MIIT and three additional departments, laying down the New Industry Standardization Pilot Project Implementation Plan (2023-2035). This influential document delineates specific provisions, addressing everything from the terms and definitions relating to intelligent connected vehicles to intricate stipulations regarding cybersecurity and data security practices.

Integrating Safety into Autonomous Vehicles

November 17, 2023, marked a pivotal moment when a collective notice from the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the Ministry of Transport, and the MIIT, laid out the Pilot Program for Access and On-road Passage of Intelligent Connected Vehicles. This program embodies a landmark recommendation for L3/L4 autonomous driving specifications and establishes an unprecedented clarity toward the allocation of responsibilities in the event of high-level intelligent driving incidents.

This notice elucidates criteria for automotive enterprises and vehicles in terms of safety capabilities. It is mandated that entities possess robust mechanisms for ensuring functional safety, SOTIF, cybersecurity, data security, management of software upgrades, and competencies in risk and emergency response.

Key requirements also envelop process assurances for intelligent connected vehicle products, ranging from vehicular functional safety, particularly in autonomous driving systems, to the rigor of the autonomous driving systems' SOTIF processes, as well as protocols related to cybersecurity and data security of the vehicles.

The Impact on the Automotive Market

As a result, functional safety and SOTIF have emerged as mandatory criteria for the admission of L3 autonomous vehicles in China. The embodiment of functional safety and SOTIF standardization within L3 and superior autonomous systems is rapidly becoming a strategic priority for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers alike.

Automotive OEMs and suppliers are proactively amplifying their functional safety processes and product certifications. In alignment with this trend, they are diligently navigating SOTIF process certifications, indicating a robust and forward-thinking approach to aligning with burgeoning safety standards.

Certainly, the ISO 26262 standard garners no global requisition for compliance; nevertheless, its acceptance is widespread across the automotive sector—it effectively serves as the gateway criterion for participants in the automotive supply chain. OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers are progressively adopting a stance to exclude products or vendors that lack ISO 26262 certification, a testament to the standard's substantial influence.

Escalating Investment in Safety

Recent years have witnessed an escalation of focus and financial commitment from leading international OEMs, and strikingly, from Chinese automakers, towards functional safety and SOTIF. Prominent Chinese independent manufacturers such as Great Wall Motor, SAIC, Geely, GAC, Changan, and BYD have bolstered functional safety requirements for critical systems.

Not content with simply establishing functional safety units, these automakers are actively engaging in specialized functional safety training, synergizing with third-party institutions, rigorously overseeing self-developed products along with vehicular functional safety procedures, and using suppliers' functional safety development and product capabilities as essential criteria for supply chain inclusion.

Certifications Surge

In the domain of functional safety certification, a remarkable uptick has been observed. From January through November 2023, Chinese entities cleared a commendable tally of 114 functional safety certifications, with product certifications accounting for 41 and process certifications making up the remaining 73—a stark contrast to the preceding year's total of around 40.

Beyond functional safety accreditations, the formal establishment of SOTIF standards has incited a wave of OEMs and suppliers, including Great Wall Motor, FAW Hongqi, Changan Automobile, GAC, Horizon Robotics, Jingwei Hirain, Huawei, Desay SV, and SenseAuto, to set about SOTIF processes ahead of time, solidifying a safety foundation for their future autonomous driving systems.

The Shift Toward Integration

The traditional perspective of functional safety, SOTIF, and cybersecurity as discrete entities is undergoing a radical transformation. The industries are moving towards an integrated approach, where each complements and interweaves with the others in practical applications. The convergence of these systems into a unified framework is becoming a significant trend in the evolution of vehicular safety, echoing through the initiatives of companies such as KOSTAL, Neta, Baolong Technology, and Pan-Asia Technical Automotive Center, all pioneers in the integrated development of safety.

Looking ahead, with vehicles being incrementally embedded with intricate electronic systems, the potential hazards brought forth by software system aberrations and random hardware damage cannot be underestimated. The intermingling of the ISO 26262 functional safety standard into the Automotive Software Process Improvement and Capability dEtermination (ASPICE) methodology is expected to dramatically enhance the automotive system software development's quality, efficiency, and overall safety.

The Highlights of the Report

The report discloses crucial topics related to automotive functional safety, including its current state and progression. It offers insights into the development of SOTIF, extending to ADA systems and autonomous driving SOTIF research. Policymaking and standards play a pivotal role, with major national perspectives on functional safety and introductions to essential standards like ISO 26262 and ISO 21448 dissected in the report.

The document also provides an overview of automotive functional safety certification developments, offering introductions to ASPICE and highlighting major certification agencies such as SGS, TuV SuD, TuV Rheinland, UL Solutions, and more. It further explores OEMs' layouts in automotive functional safety and SOTIF, featuring leaders like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Volvo, and several influential Chinese automakers.

Moreover, the report delves into the functional safety requirements and solutions for main auto parts, including an examination of the layout of key parts suppliers. The comprehensive analysis extends to cases of main auto parts and offers insights into the functional safety solutions of principal enterprises in the industry, such as Synopsys, Jingwei Hirain, Vector, Bosch, Continental, and others.

In-Depth Insights and Future Perspectives

For further details and comprehensive coverage of the topics, interested parties are encouraged to review the full report available at Global and China Automotive Functional Safety and Safety of The Intended Functionality (SOTIF) Research Report, 2024.

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With the overarching goal of ushering in a new era of automotive safety and reliability, stakeholders across the globe closely monitor China's strides in automotive safety. As the industry continues to mature and the realities of autonomous driving grow ever closer, the insights found within's latest report will undoubtedly influence strategies, policies, and innovations for years to come.