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PCBD-Sept2015

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34 The PCB Design Magazine • September 2015 by James G. Mcleish & Tom o'Connor DFR SOLuTiOnS Automotive electronics systems are becom- ing increasing complex and essential for the proper, safe operation of cars and trucks. Ve- hicle controls for basic operation and safety functions are increasingly being implemented by electronic modules. The ability of these elec- tronic systems to function reliably is becoming a greater aspect of vehicle safety as was dramati- cally demonstrated by the 2009–2011 recall of over 9 million Toyota vehicles for unintended acceleration issues. After the Toyota incident, the U.S. Nation- al Academy of Science issued "Special Report #038: The Safety Challenge and Promise of Automotive Electronics—Insights from Unin- tended Acceleration" in January 2012. The re- port cited that federal safety regulators in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lack the expertise to monitor vehicles with increasingly sophisticated electronics, as was demonstrated by the need for NHSTA to call in NASA electronic personnel to assist in the investigation. But 2014 was an even worse year for the auto industry, plagued with a record 700 recalls of over 60 million vehicles that has cost billions of dollars, involved numerous NHTSA safety investigations, record federal fines, damning publicity, unsettled legal liabilities, and con- gressional investigations. Severe new vehicle safety legislation is now under consideration. With many of these reliability issues, the vehi- cles' systems functioned for years before failures with safety consequences occurred. Others in- volved situations where product teams, execu- tives and regulators did not recognize the safety consequences of product and system quality, reliability and durability (QRD) capabilities, es- pecially when new technology is involved. The industry now searches for ways to ensure that this never occurs again. Physics of Failure Durability Simulations for Automotive Electronics feature

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