SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

Analyzing requirements early in a program can be an effective way to identify issues prior to downstream work commencement. At Pi Innovo, our engineers conduct broad requirements elicitation activities to fully understand the requirement of each stakeholder. These stakeholders may have mutually exclusive requirements, contradictions, expensive or time intensive requirements. Evaluating each requirement, its benefits, trade-offs, cost, and other attributes allows Pi Innovo to guide clients to a final set of requirements all stakeholders can support. At the completion of the analysis phase clients can be confident that they have high fidelity requirements which fully capture all aspects of the product and not have any requirements surprises later in the program.

All projects require solid system requirements.  Even proof-of-concept projects need quality system requirements that are complete, unambiguous, and testable.  At Pi Innovo, we pride ourselves on being experts in eliciting all levels of requirements for our clients, no matter the size or scope of the program.  For over 15 years, our engineers have defined the requirements for safety critical systems ranging from drive by wire systems to aviation engine controls.  At Pi Innovo, the engineers are familiar with the latest regulatory requirements, popular standards and protocols to provide complete requirements documents that capture all aspects of a system.

Typically, Pi Innovo will capture and define requirements at several levels ranging from top level system and product requirements, to both high and low level hardware and software requirements.  For our rapid prototyping customers, we often create hybrid requirements documents capturing system and high level functional requirements to help guide and define the project sufficiently without creating undue documentation burden.

Typically, good requirements do not specify an architecture or design. Different architecture choices sometimes result in trade-offs in time to market, risk, cost, complexity, and maintainability. Thus, once a set of requirements are captured, Pi Innovo develops several candidate architectures that could be used to meet the top level requirements. The strengths / weaknesses of each candidate architecture are reviewed to provide options to our clients to help them make informed decisions. Architecture definition takes several forms including functional block diagrams and detailed descriptions of the architecture elements and their interfaces. Pi Innovo uses a Decision Analysis and Resolution technique to compare various architecture options and select the most appropriate candidate for the customer’s needs.

Systems Engineering

Architecture definition is a critical milestone, and is a key milestone review for the team and senior engineering staff. Pi Innovo will bring in senior and chief engineering staff from elsewhere in the Pi organization to participate in milestone reviews at key points such as architecture definition.

Pi Innovo prides itself on being comprehensive and thorough in safety and failure analysis. As the modern safety standards have evolved from the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA), IEC61508, to ISO26262, Pi Innovo has kept pace and supported our client needs with detailed analysis of their systems. Pi Innovo recommends using the ISO26262:3 HARA (Hazard and Risk Assessment) for virtually all projects. At Pi, we feel it is critical to understand the hazards and safe states for a system in every project. The ISO26262 HARA helps identify all of the hazards present in the use of a system, and the safe states it may return to in the event of a fault. The definition of concepts in the HARA is instrumental in developing robust control systems even if the full ISO26262 process is not followed. Pi Innovo supports Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) activities for:

  • System Level
  • Component Level
  • Manufacturing and Process

Pi Innovo is expert in efficiently performing Design Failure Mode Effects Analysis (DFMEA) of systems and components. The broad expertise of Pi Innovo’s engineering pool allows us to quickly determine the boundary for the DFMEA, define the block diagrams, identify all of the hazards, and perform a detailed analysis of the causes for the faults. In a given year, Pi Innovo executes dozens of DFMEAs on internal and external projects varying from safety critical systems, to internal product development. A qualitative fault tree analysis (FTA) process is frequently used to evaluate different architectures to understand system reliability and availability. Pi Innovo has performed quantitative FTA for aviation customers seeking DO-160 and DO-178 compliance. The systems team will often utilize the FTA for complex systems to understand the impact of system availability and failover behaviors.

As a full service supplier, Pi Innovo engineers support our customers in calibration, field testing, and validation activities. Our engineers have the versatility and domain expertise to support calibration and field testing in many areas. Pi Innovo has successfully completed production calibration and testing for the following areas:

  • Diesel and Gasoline engine calibration
  • Active suspension calibration
  • ABS/TCS/ESC calibration
  • Hybrid and EV supervisor calibration

Pi Innovo utilizes our in-house testing resources for HIL testing or those of our customers. The Pi engineers can support all aspects of a program, including  HIL, dynamometer, and vehicle testing aspects to support a series production launch.