Underwriters Laboratories announced that it published UL 4600, the Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products—its first Standard addressing autonomous vehicles and other applications.
The Standard’s scope includes safety principles and processes for evaluating autonomous products with no human driver supervision, meaning that the vehicle is to be fully autonomous. It requires a safety argument along with topics including risk analysis and safety-relevant aspects of design process, testing, tool qualification, autonomy validation, data integrity and human-machine interaction for non drivers, among others. UL 4600 is technology neutral, meaning that it does not mandate the use of any specific technology in creating the autonomous system, and it also permits design process flexibility.
UL 4600 does not define performance or pass/fail criteria for safety, nor does it cover road testing or acceptable risk levels. Furthermore, the Standard does not set forth requirements for ethical product release decisions or any ethical aspects of product behavior.
The Standard is available for purchase in digital or print formats at shopULstandards.com, where it can also be viewed online for free using UL’s Digital View functionality. Registration is required to use Digital View.
Underwriters Laboratories partnered with Dr. Philip Koopman of Edge Case Research to drive development of the Standard. Koopman is an internationally recognized expert on autonomous vehicle safety and brings more than 20 years of research experience to the collaboration.
A diverse body of international stakeholders was convened by Underwriters Laboratories to participate on the Standards Technical Panel (STP) to develop the document. This group proposed content, shared knowledge, reviewed and voted upon the proposals and ultimately achieved consensus on publishing the first edition of UL 4600. Other stakeholders provided proposals and commentary via the online collaboration platform utilized by UL Standards.
STP members represent a broad variety of interests, including automotive manufacturers, trucking, robotics, aviation and government systems. Others participated on behalf of insurance companies, state and federal government transportation and regulatory agencies, universities and a consumer advocacy organization. International participation in the development process was strong, with members hailing from the U.S., Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, China, Singapore and other countries.
UL 4600 will be evaluated on a continuous basis to maintain relevance and drive adoption. Proposals for additions and changes can be submitted by anyone and at any time via CSDS.UL.com.