Frequently Asked Questions for the ANSI/UL 4600 safety standard
These are unofficial answers to common questions. Nothing here supersedes the standard itself. I have no formal relationship with Underwriters Laboratories beyond being a member of the Standards Technical Panel (voting member) for UL 4600. (I have been a principal contributor to the content of that standard.)
A good starting point for initial information is:
- Videos & slides explaining the standard
- Free, downloadable copy of the voting draft version (December 2019)
Q: Where can I get the standard?
- Free digital viewing and hard-copy purchase from Underwriters Laboratories:
- You can see the voting draft of version 1 of the standard here as of December 2019. The differences between this and issued version 1 are important for conformance, but minor if you're just trying to get the big picture, you can find it at one of these sources:
Q: Who are the voting members for this standard?
- You can see the current list here:
- Anyone with an interest can request to be a Stakeholder by sending e-mail to: Heather.Sakellariou@ul.org and requesting UL4600 Stakeholder Status. This provides ability to participate in revision activities, but not voting rights.
- The Standards Technical Panel is the voting membership, which changes from time to time. There is a requirement for distribution of different types of stakeholders and a practical limit on group size. You can see the current STP membership here:
- UL 4600 covers the automated and autonomous portions of the vehicle functionality. That includes the SAE Level 3 functionality that does not involve the driver, all of SAE Level 4 functionality, all of SAE Level 5 functionality, and additional system level functionality.
- Rather than SAE Levels, it might be better to think of the standard as covering the "Automated" and "Autonomous" operating modes
(See: https://pr-97195.medium.com/a-users-guide-to-vehicle-automation-modes-4bdd49b30dc0 )
- UL 4600 is an overall framework that other standards fit into. Most teams will use ISO 26262 or MIL-STD-882, and UL 4600 is specifically designed for compatibility with those standards. However, there is no requirement in UL 4600 to use any particular such standard. Rather, UL 4600 emphasizes making sure everything is covered that is required for system safety.
- UL 4600 provides criteria for assessing safety cases, but does not tell you what the safety case actually has to look like. Creating examples is an ongoing project. For the mean time, you can see a safety case framework that is generally compatible with UL 4600 here:
- "UL.org" is Underwriters Laboratories. They are a non-profit, accredited ANSI standards development organization (SDO) that created UL 4600. (Confusingly, they often use the UL logo and standards are "UL" due to historical reasons, but they are not actually UL.)
- "UL.com" is a related but separate company known as UL. UL does assessment against many standards. They are a for-profit company that is a member of the STP, but do not actually issue the standard.
- You can find a number of talks including slides and in many cases video here: