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UL Joins the World Economic Forum’s Safe Drive Initiative Focusing on the Safety of Autonomous Vehicles

UL aims to enable the adoption of safe autonomous vehicles through collaboration on a new approach to safety.

Urban street block with autonomous vehicles

June 29, 2021

Northbrook, Illinois. – June 29, 2021 – UL, a global safety science leader, announced today that it is now a member of the World Economic Forum’s Safe Drive Initiative, a multi-stakeholder project created to improve the state of autonomous vehicle governance. The mission of the Safe Drive Initiative is to enable safe autonomous vehicles (AVs) through collaboration on a new approach to safety – providing increased transparency on AV technology and a greater alignment on the definition of safety. The effort brings together industry and regulators to identify specific challenges in AV policy and to co-create solutions, through toolkits, technical insights and thought leadership. UL's contributions to the Safe Drive Initiative will include participation on technical panels and papers, helping navigate the complexity of autonomous vehicle safety. 

Part of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Mobility Platform, the Safe Drive Initiative has created a proposed framework for AV governance centered around a scenario-based safety assurance program. Following the publication of this framework, the World Economic Forum is considering creating further guidance for policymakers on facets of AV safety such as teleoperations, minimum risk maneuvers and cyber resiliency. Accomplishments to date include:

  • Proposal of a performance-based approach to AV safety policy
  • Improved safety of AV/mobility as a service testing and operations
  • Initiation of a cross-industry dialogue around safety to increase public trust
  • Creation of a global framework for sharing critical safety data for AVs

“As autonomous technology spans software, electrical and traditional mechanical systems, manufacturers must consider a host of existing standards and emerging industry best practices to address safety at all levels of automation. This is even more important as we move to higher levels of autonomy,” said Mary Joyce, vice president and general manager of UL’s New Mobility group. “We are proud to partner with the World Economic Forum’s Safe Drive Initiative and lead the development of standards for autonomous vehicles that regulators around the globe can use.”

In 2020, UL’s nonprofit parent company, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., partnered with industry experts and innovators to develop and launch the Standard for Evaluation of Autonomous Product, or UL 4600, which addresses safety principles and processes for evaluating fully autonomous products requiring no human driver supervision. The Standard provides the flexibility needed to prioritizes safety while supporting the rapid development of the technology. In addition, UL advises, evaluates and certifies the functional safety aspects of products and systems. This help empower stakeholders to address functional safety challenges for the performance and safety of electronic or electromechanical systems in automobiles, including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), EV batteries and systems, and connected and autonomous vehicle systems.

“Cutting-edge technologies such as autonomous vehicles are creating opportunities to transform mobility by enabling innovative business models and mobility services for new and changing customer demographics,” said Michelle Avary, head of Automotive and Autonomous Mobility, World Economic Forum. “We welcome UL’s scientific expertise in safety that aligns seamlessly with our work that brings the world’s major mobility stakeholders across all sectors to create mobility systems and guidelines that meet 21st-century demands.”

More information on the Safe Drive Initiative is available at:

About UL
UL is a global safety science leader. We deliver testing, inspection and certification (TIC), training and advisory services, risk management solutions and essential business insights to help our customers, based in more than 100 countries, achieve their safety, security and sustainability goals. Our deep knowledge of products and intelligence across supply chains make us the partner of choice for customers with complex challenges. Discover more at For information about Standards development and other nonprofit activities, visit

Press contact:

Steven Brewster