Dr. Giulio Corradi, Xilinx & Romuald Girardey, Endress+Hauser
EETimes (1/25/2013 4:26 PM EST)
FPGAs are being used more and more in high-integrity and safety-critical domains. There is however, a lack of consensus on how FPGAs can be safely deployed and certified. Should these devices be treated as hardware or software during the certification process? Also there is a lack of shared information on the determination of the risk associated with using FPGA technology.
FPGAs possess features such as parallelism, reconfiguration, separation of functions, and self-healing capabilities. All are compelling for creating redundancy and independent blocks as well as increasing the overall availability, however these features are not generally well known especially to safety assessors.
This article touches on the application of the IEC 61508 Edition 2 Safety Standard to FPGAs pertaining to methods, and it establishes the foundation of a guideline for a Safety Package allowing the certification of FPGA-based products in accordance to the functional safety recommendation of the IEC 61508 Edition 2 Safety Standard.
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