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SAE Develops New Standard for Reporting Electronic Crash Data

Troy, Michigan -, Nov. 20, 2003 - SAE has taken important first step in harmonizing the electronic data collected from vehicle crashes, or "events". The standard, targeted for December 2003 and referenced as J1698, establishes a common format for displaying and presenting crash-related data recorded and stored by electronic components currently installed in many light duty vehicles. It pertains solely to the post-download format of the data and is not intended to direct how the data is collected or which vehicle systems are to be monitored.

Vehicle event data has several acknowledged applications toward designing safer vehicles and highways by providing diagnostic and operational information of on-board occupant protection systems and aiding in vehicle crash reconstruction. Data elements addressed by SAE J1698 are intended to be a compilation of those that manufacturers are currently recording, as well as, those elements that can be reasonably predicted in the future. They include vehicle-traveling speed, RPM, throttle position, steering angle, time, date, and temperature, among others.

"Historically, crash data recording technology has evolved based on the varying technical needs of vehicle manufacturers and their customers. This has resulted in wide variations in the scope, extent and format of such data", states Robert Kreeb, Chairman of the SAE Vehicle Event Data Interface (VEDI) Technical Standards Committee. "In developing J1698, we wanted to maximize the validity and usefulness of event data toward improving vehicle safety, while allowing manufacturers to remain flexible and creative in how data is actually collected or extracted."

The technical deliberation surrounding this achievement has been carried forth by the SAE VEDI committee, which meets on a regular basis. As J1698 pertains only to single frontal impact events, the Committee expects to continue standardization work to include additional event types, such as side impact, vehicle rollover, and multiple impacts.

SAE International is also announcing an in-depth technical program entitled the Event Data Recorder Symposium. This event, which is highly anticipated in the automotive engineering community, will be held in June 2004. Additional information will be posted in the coming months at

SAE is proud to assist the global automotive community by providing standards and other resources that remain on the cutting edge of engineering technology. For additional information, visit