Careers in Functional Safety

What is Functional Safety?

Functional Safety is the essential part of engineering concerned with systems safety.

A modern vehicle may contain over 100 microprocessors, over 1 GB of software code and have the majority of its functions influenced by software.

Ensuring the correct functioning of the complex and highly integrated electronic systems is therefore an essential part of modern vehicles.

Our Functional Safety team provide a range of engineering and independent safety assessment services across a range of sectors including automotive, off-highway, defence, aerospace, and industrial control.

We provide our clients with consultancy services and support independent safety assessment activities. We work within cross-functional project teams to ensure that our client’s vehicles meet essential safety requirements and satisfy legislative and industry standards.

Employment Case Study

Steve Hartley - Functional Safety Consultant

Steve Hartley has been working in automotive engineering for nearly 15 years, predominately in the area of automotive electronic system safety.

He started his career as an apprentice fitter and turner at Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited in Cumbria. After seven years working on submarines, he returned to college to study mechanical engineering
before going on to study Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) at the University of Huddersfield, graduating in 1997
with a first class honours degree.

Steve joined us in 1997 on the MPDS graduate training scheme and worked as a graduate engineer in a number of departments, including Impact Simulation, Dummy Calibration, and Crash and later as a project engineer in Materials Engineering. In 2001, he successfully attained chartered engineer status with the IMechE. Steve left us in 2002 after deciding to take a different career direction, in the field of electronic
control system safety.

After eight years working in the automotive and defence industries as a senior functional safety engineer at companies based in the Midlands, Steve re-joined us in 2010 as a functional safety consultant. He puts his return to us down to the vision of the organisation. Steve said:
“It always been a great place to work, but when I heard of the exciting new plans for the MIRA Technology Park and the new technologies being developed there, it took me seconds to make the decision to re-join.”

He added: “When I re-joined, you could see a real change in people’s attitudes; everyone seemed really excited about the changes and the vision, and energised because of it. There was more inter-departmental working taking place from my first time here, and communication between the teams seemed to have improved immensely.

Part of Steve’s role is analysing electronic controlled systems to determine how they can malfunction and providing advice on how to prevent, protect or mitigate these failure modes. He has been involved in a number
of state-of-the-art electronic control system developments for clients wanting to comply with the requirements the functional safety standard ISO 26262. He provides expert functional safety consultancy for internal projects, major OEMs and tier one automotive suppliers. Steve also provides functional safety auditing and training as part of his role.

“We work in a team of worldclass engineers and I’m proud that we have the facilities and the talent to deliver large scale innovative projects to global customers,” he said. “There are few careers that offer such a variety of work, from liaising with customers, to high end technical delivery. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s fair to say that no two days are the same.”

Steve says he is delighted to now have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of engineers with us as an IMechE mentor, providing career guidance and advice for our graduates.