Microelectronics Reliability, Vol. 39, pp. 1423-1444, February 1999

Physics-of-Failure Assessment of a Cruise Control Module

K. Kimseng, M. Hoit, N. Tiwari, and M. Pecht
CALCE-Electronic Products & Systems Center
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742, USA


The purpose of a cruise control system is to accurately maintain the driver's desired set speed, without intervention from the driver, by actuating the throttle-accelerator pedal linkage. Over the past five years, owners of a particular cruise control have complained that it did not properly operate.  Complaints ranged from not engaging upon command, to the cruise unexpectedly accelerating past the desired set speed.  A common thread among all the complaints was the intermittent nature of the problems.  More than 96% of the reported failed modules removed from vehicles and returned to the company, passed bench tests.

This paper presents a physics-of-failure process to identify, induce and analyze failure mechanisms causing intermittent failures, high warranty returns and cannot duplicate (CND) problems of the digital electronic cruise control module (CCM).  In addition we explain why the manufacturer's tests were not representative of the actual automotive environments, nor were they conducted in a manner to assess actual failures. We conclude with a recommendation for a physics-of-failure approach for future

Index Terms:

Physics-of-failure, cruise control module, cannot duplicate

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