First AV Tool for Insurers With Safety Analyst’s Standard

Insurers of future autonomous vehicles have been given their first risk assessment tool in the shape of a standard published by a global safety specialist.

Underwriters Laboratories have announced its UL 4600, the Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products, addressing autonomous vehicles and other applications.

The standard’s scope includes safety principles and processes for evaluating autonomous products with no human driver supervision. 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.

While the standard does not define performance or pass/fail criteria for safety, road testing or acceptable risk levels, it does draw on a significant body of expertise. A diverse body of international stakeholders was convened by Underwriters Laboratories to participate on a panel to develop the standard.

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 used by UL Standards.

The analyst 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.

Koopman said: “UL 4600 is a set of requirements and safety lessons learned that informs the contents of a safety case. This safety case approach provides the flexibility needed to help ensure safety without overly constraining the use of this quickly evolving technology.”

The Standard is available for purchase in digital or print formats at, where it can also be viewed online for free using UL’s Digital View functionality. Registration is required to use Digital View.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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