UL 4600 FAQ

 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?

Q: Who are the voting members for this standard?

Q: How can I get involved?
  • 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:
Q: Is UL 4600 just for SAE Level 4?
  • 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 )

Q: Does UL 4600 replace ISO 26262, ISO 21148, ...?
  • 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.
Q: Is there an example safety case?
  • 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:

Q: What's the deal with UL.com and UL.org?
  • "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.
Q: Where can I get more information about UL 4600-related safety ideas, such as Safety Performance Indicators?

(updated 2/8/2021)

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