SAE International

SAE International
SAE Organisation Logo.gif
Type Professional Organization.
Location Warrendale, Pennsylvania
Key people Andrew L. Riker, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Glenn Martin, Orville Wright, Charles Kettering
Area served Worldwide.
Focus Automotive, Automobile, Aerospace,Commercial Vehicle.
Method Industry standards, Conferences, Publications.

SAE International (SAE) is an organization for engineering professionals in the aerospace, automotive, and commercial vehicle industries. The Society is a standards development organization for the engineering of powered vehicles of all kinds, including cars, trucks, boats, aircraft, and others.

SAE International has 120,000 members around the world. The mission of SAE International is to enable voluntary consensus on standards development. The SAE Foundation raises funds to support science and technology education in students from elementary school through to college.



In the early 1900s there were dozens of automobile manufacturers in the United States, and many more worldwide. Auto manufacturers and parts companies joined trade groups that promoted business. A desire to solve common technical design problems, and develop engineering standards was emerging. Engineers in the automobile business expressed a desire to have "free exchange of ideas" in order to expand their individual technical knowledge base.

Two magazine publishers, Peter Heldt of The Horseless Age, and Horace Swetland of The Automobile were advocates of the concepts for SAE. Heldt wrote an editorial in June 1902 in which he said, "Now there is a noticeable tendency for automobile manufacturers to follow certain accepted lines of construction, technical questions constantly arise which seek solution from the cooperation of the technical men connected with the industry. These questions could best be dealt with by a technical society. The field of activity for this society would be the purely technical side of automobiles."[1]

Horace Swetland wrote on automotive engineering concerns, and became an original SAE officer. About two years after Heldt's editorial, the Society of Automobile Engineers was founded in New York City. Four officers and five managing officers volunteered. In 1905 Andrew Riker served as president, and Henry Ford served as the society's first vice president. The initial membership was engineers with annual dues of US$10.

Over the first 10 years SAE membership grew steadily, and the society added full-time staff and began to publish a technical journal and a comprehensive compilation of technical papers, previously called SAE Transactions, which still exist today in the form of SAE International's Journals. By 1916 SAE had 1,800 members. At the annual meeting that year, representatives from the American Society of Aeronautic Engineers, the Society of Tractor Engineers, as well as representatives from the power boating industry made a pitch to SAE for oversight of technical standards in their industries. Aeronautics was a fledgling industry at that time. Early supporters of the concept of a society to represent aeronautical engineers were Thomas Edison, Glenn Curtiss, Glenn Martin, and Orville Wright.

Out of the meeting in 1916 came a new organization, to represent engineers in all types of mobility-related professions. SAE member Elmer Sperry created the term "automotive" from Greek autos (self), and Latin motivus (of motion) origins to represent any form of self powered vehicle. The Society of Automobile Engineers became the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Charles Kettering presided over SAE during World War I and saw membership pass the 5,000 mark. During this time, SAE emphasized the importance of developing member activity through local chapters - called Sections. After World War II, the Society established links with other standards bodies and automotive engineering societies worldwide, and since then has founded sections in countries including: Brasil, India, China, Russia, Romania, and Egypt. By 1980, membership surpassed 35,000 and over the next two decades the society, like the industries and individuals it serves, became larger, more global, more diverse, and more electronic.

In 2010, the society serves more than 120,000 members , with more than a quarter from outside of North America.

Technical standards

SAE International provides a forum for companies, government agencies, educational institutions and consultants to agree on technical standards for the worldwide vehicle mobility industry. These standards play a key role in improving safety, reducing costs, increasing productivity, improving market position, providing market access, and advancing new technologies.

Ground vehicle standards

SAE International publishes more than 1,600 technical standards used in the passenger car industry. They include:

  • measuring automobile power in units of horsepower (SAE Net Horsepower), which has been generally followed in the USA since the early 1970s
  • motor oil classification standards
  • tool measurement sizes
  • Modern vehicles are equipped with a diagnostic system known as On-Board Diagnostics II (OBD II). If a malfunction occurs, a Check Engine Light will alert the driver who must scan the system for stored fault codes. These fault codes are known as SAE Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).
    • SAE-J1939: Recommended Practice for a Serial Control and Communications Vehicle Network
  • SAE J1772: SAE Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Coupler

Furthermore, SAE encourages the design of vehicles in accordance with established Human Factors principles. SAE is one of the most influential organizations with respect to Ergonomics work in Automotive Design. Human Factors and Ergonomic standards published by SAE include the following:

  • J2094 200101: Vehicle and Control Modifications for Drivers with Physical Disabilities
  • J1139 199907: Direction-of-Motion Stereotypes for Automotive Hand Controls
  • J1903 199707: Automotive Adaptive Driver Controls, Manual
  • J941 200801: Motor Vehicle Drivers' Eye Locations
  • J287 200702: Driver Hand Control Reach
  • J1138 199902: Design Criteria Driver Hand Controls Location for Passenger Cars
  • J899 200705: Operator's Seat Dimensions
  • J1163 200612: Determining Seat Index Point
  • J209 200305: Instrument Face Design and Location
  • J1814 200303: Operator Controls
  • J1050 200301: Describing and Measuring the Driver's Field of View
  • J2119 199710: Manual Controls for Mature Drivers
  • J2331 200212: Operators Field of View—Engineering Evaluation
  • J153 198705: Operator Precautions
  • J2217 199110: Photometric Guidelines for Instrument Panel Displays That Accommodate Older Drivers

Aerospace standards

SAE International is the leading organization for technical standards for the aerospace industry,[citation needed] publishing more than 6,400 unique documents. They include: Aerospace Standards (AS), Aerospace Recommended Practices (ARP), and Aerospace Information Reports (AIR), and are guidelines for design and production of aircraft and aircraft avionics systems:

  • Aerospace Standards (AS) apply to missile, airframe, ground-support equipment, propulsion, propeller, and accessory equipment.
    • Aerospace Material Standards (AMS) are a subset of AS governing materials science and engineering for aerospace applications.
  • Aerospace Recommended Practices (ARP) are recommendations for engineering practice.
  • Aerospace Information Reports (AIR) contain general accepted engineering data and information.

Well known SAE Aerospace standards include:

Events, conferences, meetings and symposia

SAE organizes or administers more than 25 international meetings and exhibitions each year that cover all aspects of technology related to design, manufacture, and total life cycle technology for the automotive, aerospace, off-highway, truck and bus, fuels and lubricants, and other related mobility industries. These events bring engineers and technical experts from around the world together to share information and network.

Each of the three industry sectors has a primary congress:

  • SAE World Congress and Exhibition held annually for the passenger car industry
  • SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress held annually for the trucking, construction and agricultural industry
  • SAE AeroTech Congress & Exhibition, held biennially for the aerospace industry

Other notable conferences include Convergence, the premier transportation electronics event (held biennially) and International Conference on Environmental Systems, focusing on manned space systems (held annually).

SAE Symposia are one-day to three-day events focused on emerging technologies, new applications to emerging technologies or other expanded technical subjects.

Additional activities and events are organized at the regional level through sections and collegiate chapters.

Professional development

The SAE mission statement emphasizes the organization's commitment to life long learning. In addition to conferences and meetings, SAE also offers more than 450 separate professional development events every year. Offerings include seminars, engineering academies and webinars, offered in the classroom and online. All seminars are approved for IACET Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for the professional engineer.

Encouraging students in science, technology, engineering & math

In 1986, SAE International established the SAE Foundation to support science and technology education. One of the most pressing issues facing industry today is the decline of students enrolling in science and technology programs.[citation needed] This decline and its impact threaten the ability to meet future workforce demands. The SAE Foundation encourages and supports the development of skills related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A World In Motion is a teacher-administered, industry volunteer-assisted program that brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to life in the classroom for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. Benchmarked to the national standards, AWIM incorporates the laws of physics, motion, flight and electronics into age-appropriate hands on activities that reinforce classroom STEM curriculum.

The SAE Collegiate Design Series provides an opportunity for college students to go beyond textbook theory and replicates the process of engineering design and manufacturing. In the CDS program, a company wants to sell a product for a specific market segment, for example a radio controlled airplane, a single seat off-road vehicle, or a single seat Formula style race car. Instead of doing all the design, manufacturing and testing in house, the customer chooses to contract out those processes to a supplier, and sends their requirements out for bid. Student teams act as the suppliers and design, build and test a prototype vehicle that they believe meets the customer's specifications. Each team then presents its prototype to the customer at the annual competitions and is judged on several criteria. The team with the highest points essentially wins the contract.

Each year, these design competitions host more than 4,500 students from 500 universities around the world. The SAE Collegiate Design Series competitions include the following:

  • SAE Aero Design
  • Baja SAE
  • SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge
  • Formula SAE
  • Formula Hybrid
  • SAE Supermileage


SAE International has been publishing technical information since 1906. Industry magazines published monthly include: Automotive Engineering International,Aerospace Engineering and Manufacturing,Off Highway Engineering, Truck & Bus Engineering,SAE Vehicle Engineering, e-newsletters, Momentum magazine for student members, and various journals. SAE also produces the monthly Update newsletter for its members and publishes more than 100 books a year in print and electronic formats. Ranging from compilations on various technical subjects, to textbooks, to historical and enthusiast-oriented books, SAE’s titles cater to a variety of readers.

In April 2007, MIT canceled its subscription to SAE because of required Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology implemented on its online technical papers. SAE International removed the DRM restrictions for colleges, universities, and other academic institutions.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Hillstrom, Kevin; Laurie Collier Hillstrom (2006). The industrial revolution in America: automobiles. Oxford: ABC-CLIO. pp. 33–36. ISBN 185109749X. 
  2. ^ "SAE Removes FileOpen Digital Rights Management for Students, Faculty" (Press release). SAE International. November 6, 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 

External links

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