ISO 26262 is a standard for Automotive Electric/Electronic Systems safety, that is adopted by car manufacturers. Its V shape consists of two legs, the first comprising definition, analysis, design, architectural design, development and implementation. The second leg consists of verification and validation of the software, starting from unit tests to functional tests, safety tests and system-wide tests. Model based design is used to reduce the complexity. These models are now fairly complex. Model based design is the one of the value adds that Mentor Graphics automotive kit provides is help with achieving compliance with this standard.
ISO 26262 is derived from its parent, the IEC 61508 standard, which is titled Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems. This parent standard has variants for safety of automotive, railway, nuclear, manufacturing processes (refineries, petrochemical, chemical, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, and power) and machinery related electrical control systems. An associated, upcoming standard is the SAE J2980.
An excellent talk today by MIT fellow Ricardo Dematos discussed more comprehensive approaches to automotive safety. This is building up from his work with safety research at MIT, AWS IoT and our SyncBrake entry for V2V safety at TechCrunch Disrupt 2015.