Use of Fault Tree Analysis for Automotive Reliability and Safety Analysis 2004-01-1537
Fault tree analysis (FTA) evolved from the aerospace industry in the 1960’s. A fault tree is deductive logic model that is generated with a top undesired event in mind. FTA answers the question, “how can something occur?” as opposed to failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) that is inductive and answers the question, “what if?” FTA is used in risk, reliability and safety assessments. FTA is currently being used by several industries such as nuclear power and chemical processing. Typically the automotive industries uses failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) such as design FMEAs and process FMEAs. The use of FTA has spread to the automotive industry. This paper discusses the use of FTA for automotive applications. With the addition automotive electronics for various applications in systems such as engine/power control, cruise control and braking/traction, FTA is well suited to address failure modes within these systems. FTA can determine the importance of these failure modes from various perspectives such as cost, reliability and safety. A fault tree analysis of a car starting system is presented as an example.