System Approach to Prevent Safety and Quality Problems in Modern Automobiles


MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar SeriesQi Van Eikema Hommes, PhD

Qi Van Eikema Hommes, PhD
Research Associate and Lecturer, MIT Engineering Systems Division

Date: May 14, 2012

Download the presentation slides

About the Presentation

Today’s automobiles are characterized by complex Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), where numerous embedded devices are networked to control physical hardware components. These systems are software intensive, and typically developed by globally distributed large multidisciplinary teams. Many such systems already experienced quality and safety problems that could not be traced back to component failures. One such example is the recent Toyota Unintended Acceleration case.

In this webinar, Dr. Hommes will address the recently published ISO 26262 Functional Safety for Road Vehicle, the industry’s first attempt at providing safety assurance for the complex automotive electronic systems. It is a positive first step, and a number of areas can be improved by taking on a more systems approach. A system theoretic hazard analysis method, developed by Professor Leveson at MIT, is applied to the Adaptive Cruise Control system design, illustrating one of the directions to improve the safety and quality of future automobiles.

About the Speaker

Dr. Van Eikema Hommes is a research associate and lecturer with the Engineering Systems Division at MIT. Her research focuses on the interactive complexity in large engineering systems and products. She also teaches Systems Engineering and Product Development at MIT.

Dr. Hommes is currently on the technical staff of Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, providing expert advice to NHTSA on the safety regulation of automotive electronic systems. In addition, she has industry experience with Ford Motor Company and General Motors.

Dr. Van Eikema Hommes holds a SM degree and a PhD degree from the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT. She is a certified Six Sigma Blackbelt. She has published a number of papers in the ASME DETC DTM conference, SAE, and INCOSE conference. She also has several internal technical publications both at Ford and GM.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.