Autonomous Vehicle Technology
March 17, 2023

Autonomous Trucking Incorporated Into Third Edition of UL 4600

Two trucks on a desert highway

UL Standards & Engagement published the third edition of UL 4600, the Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products, in March 2023, adding autonomous trucking to the scope of the Standard, which continues to cover autonomous vehicles and other products that operate without human supervision. 

UL 4600 is unlike a traditional UL safety standard, as it illustrates a unique ‘safety case’ approach to evaluating items covered by the Standard. A safety case is a structured argument, supported by evidence that provides a compelling, comprehensive and valid claim that a system or product is safe for a particular application in a specified environment. The third edition has been revised to support autonomous trucking through the inclusion of trucking-specific examples. 

“The technology involved in autonomy continues to advance rapidly, and UL 4600 helps to provide assurance that autonomous trucks and cars can safely share the road with other motorists,” said David Steel, executive director of UL Standards & Engagement. “Autonomous trucking has the potential to be a game changer for the shipping and logistics industries, bringing added efficiency to the supply chain and helping to address personnel shortages. By convening experts from the transportation and trucking industries, developers of autonomous technology, regulators, insurers, academia, and other sectors, we are supporting the safe deployment of this paradigm shift.”

Guidance for a safety case is provided in UL 4600 in the form of a structured set of claims, argument, and supporting evidence during the design process and continuing throughout the system lifecycle. UL 4600 is technology-neutral and non-prescriptive, while covering all aspects of autonomous technologies and functions. 

UL 4600 was first published in 2020 to cover autonomous vehicles and other autonomous products operating without human supervision. Conformance to UL 4600 is validated by both self- and independent assessment.