The New J1879 Robustness Validation Standard
A New Approach for Optimum Performance Levels

Members of SAE International Automotive Electronic Systems Reliability Standards Committee, ZVEI (German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association), AEC (Automotive Electronics Council) and JSAE (Japanese Society of Automotive Engineers) formed a joint task force and met to update SAE Recommended Practice J1879-October-1988 (General Qualification and Production Acceptance Criteria for Integrated Circuits in Automotive Applications). This version did not describe methods to demonstrate that a device under test would meet the customer demand for failure levels in the single-digit parts per million (ppm) range. Additionally, with the old qualification "test-to-pass" approach, there is very little knowledge generated about the relevant component failure mechanisms that may occur at the boundaries of the specification limits. Extending the old approach to single digit ppm levels is unfeasible with respect to both economics and time. A new knowledge-based approach to understanding and preventing the occurrence of the relevant component failure mechanisms was required.

A key result of the joint task force's efforts, the new J1879 Robustness Validation Standard will provide the automotive electronics community with a common qualification methodology to demonstrate acceptable reliability. The Robustness Validation approach requires testing the component to failure, or end-of-life (EOL), without introducing invalid failure mechanisms, and evaluation of the Robustness Margin between the outer limits of the customer specification and the actual performance of the component.

The principles defined in this standard are also applicable to automotive electronic modules and systems. Publications addressing these topics are currently under development by the SAE/ZVEI Joint Task Force.