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What is SAE?

SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, is a U.S.-based, globally active professional association and standards organization for engineering professionals in various industries. Principal emphasis is placed on transport industries such as automotive, aerospace, and commercial vehicles. The Society coordinates the development of technical standards based on best practices identified and described by SAE committees and task forces. Task forces are composed of engineering professionals from relevant fields. SAE International has over 120,000 members globally. Membership is granted to individuals, not through companies. Aside from its standardization efforts, SAE International also devotes resources to projects and programs in STEM education, professional certification, and collegiate design competitions.
 
History
 
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.
 
Survey results on the adoption rate of SAE standards among various manufacturers, reported in the journal Horseless Age, 1916. 
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.
 
As of 2010, the society serves more than 120,000 members, with more than a quarter from outside of North America.[2]
 
Technical standards
SAE International provides a forum for companies, government agencies, research institutions and consultants to devise technical standards and recommended practices for the design, construction, and characteristics of motor vehicle components. SAE documents do not carry any legal force, but are in some cases referenced by NHTSA and Transport Canada in those agencies' vehicle regulations for the United States and Canada. Outside North America, SAE documents are generally not a primary source of technical provisions in vehicle regulations; the United Nations' World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations includes expert working parties to devise technical prescriptions. Ongoing harmonization efforts seek to bridge gaps between North American SAE technical prescriptions and the UN standards in use outside North America.
 
Ground vehicle standards
SAE publishes more than 1,600 technical standards and recommended practices for passenger cars and other roadgoing vehicles. These provide industry references for measurement of engine power, motor oil classification, tool and fastener sizes, and onboard diagnostic connectors and codes. SAE also publishes standards and recommended practices for headlamps and other vehicular lighting, brakes, automatic transmission fluid, communication networks, electric vehicle charging systems, vehicle ergonomics, and numerous other aspects of vehicle design, construction, performance, and durability.
 
Aerospace standards
SAE publishes over 6,400 technical documents for the aerospace industry. These include Aerospace Standards (AS), Aerospace Recommended Practices (ARP), and Aerospace Information Reports (AIR). Aerospace Standards apply to missile, airframe, ground-support equipment, propulsion, propeller, and accessory equipment. Aerospace Material Standards are a subset of Aerospace Standards governing materials science and engineering for aerospace applications. Aerospace Recommended Practices are recommendations for engineering practice. Aerospace Information Reports contain general accepted engineering data and information.
 

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