Ricardo Launches AutoFMEA™ Analysis Tool To Improve Safety and Reliability of Vehicle Systems

  • Increasing complexity of automotive systems demands a high level of safety and reliability
  • AutoFMEA enables automated safety and reliability analysis in parallel with design at each stage of the design cycle
  • Eliminates cumbersome and time-consuming manual analysis, resulting in more rigorous design and substantial time and cost savings

VAN BUREN TWP., Mich., (October 20, 2008) - Ricardo, Inc., a leading independent provider of technology, product innovation and engineering solutions to the world's automotive, military, transport and new energy industries, today launched AutoFMEA™ (Failure Mode Effects Analysis), an engineering analysis tool designed to help ensure the safety and reliability of increasingly complex automotive systems and controls. Ricardo unveiled AutoFMEA™ at the 2008 SAE Convergence Transportation Electronics Conference, underway in Detroit through October 22.

Until now, safety and reliability analysis has largely been an expensive and time-consuming manual process. Lengthy reviews were required at each design stage to reduce errors to an acceptable level. Propagating the safety analysis from stage to stage was difficult, requiring significant work to update the manual safety analysis when changes occur.

AutoFMEA automates safety and reliability analysis through a model-based design approach that integrates tools for safety analysis and functional design, enabling engineers to incorporate safety and reliability during the specification and early design stages. The system performs a safety analysis at each stage of the design cycle and verifies that safety functions operate properly.

"Vehicle systems are becoming increasingly complex. One of the most critical challenges engineers face is ensuring the safety and reliability of those systems," said Tom Robinson, Ricardo's Senior Product Group Manager, Controls and Electronics.

"The advance of vehicle electrification is moving us toward sophisticated systems such as steer-by-wire, in which the mechanical linkage between the steering wheel and the road wheels is replaced with sensors and electric motors. Obviously, a failure in this system could be catastrophic. AutoFMEA highlights hazards that can occur given certain scenarios and faults, then assesses the impact of multiple faults occurring simultaneously. This allows engineers to focus on the real issue of analyzing potential failure mechanisms during every stage of the design process, leading to safer and more reliable systems. And because the analysis is embedded into the design process, considerable savings in time and cost are possible."

AutoFMEA is a powerful add-on to widely used MATLAB´┐Ż Simulink´┐Ż. It facilitates safety analysis within the same environment used for design engineering. It can be applied to any system that can be modeled with Simulink. AutoFMEA uses Markov analysis to determine the probability of defined hazards occurring based on user-defined failure rates.

Ricardo experts are available for AutoFMEA demonstrations at Convergence booth 1126.

About Ricardo
Ricardo, the Eco-Innovation Technology Company, is a leading independent provider of technology, product innovation, engineering solutions and strategic consulting to the world's automotive, military, transport and new energy industries. The company's skill base represents the state-of-the-art in low emissions and fuel-efficient powertrain technology, and can be best summarized: "Ricardo is Fuel Economy."

Ricardo offers TVFE™, its Total Vehicle Fuel Economy engineering service, to transportation manufacturers worldwide to provide objective evaluation of all available technologies to identify the most cost-effective strategies to optimize fuel economy and CO2 goals. For more information on TVFE, please visit www.totalvehiclefueleconomy.com.

With technical centers and offices throughout Europe, the U.S. and Asia, Ricardo provides engineering expertise ranging from vehicle systems integration, controls & electronics, hardware and software development, to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel cell powertrain technologies. Its customers include the world's major automakers and suppliers as well as manufacturers in the military, commercial, off-highway and clean energy sectors. The company also serves in advisory roles to governmental and independent agencies.

Ricardo's U.S. operation, Ricardo, Inc., is headquartered in Van Buren Township, Michigan. Ricardo plc posted sales of $394 million in financial year 2008 and is a constituent of the FTSE TechMark 100 index - a group of innovative technology companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit www.ricardo.com.

Media Contacts:
Joe Kirik / The Quell Group / (248) 649-8900 / jkirik@quell.com
Anthony Smith / Ricardo Media Office / +44 1273 382710 / media@ricardo.com