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Volunteer Spotlight: George Nicols

Posted: June 21, 2023

According to George Nicols, the best standards come from cross-industry collaboration—like the standards development that happens at SAE International.

Nicols first got involved with SAE while working in the aerospace industry when he first observed that it was not unusual for people to have interest in both aerospace and automotive.

Eventually, he transitioned into the automotive industry, but his interest in aerospace remained high throughout his career. Prior to his retirement, Nicols most recently served as an advanced technology standards engineer at Toyota North America, where he was able to put his knowledge from both sectors into practice.

At SAE, Nicols has been primarily involved with motor vehicle control committees working on vehicle automation technologies and battery systems. Participating in SAE standards development gave Nicols the opportunity to share his perspectives on non-competitive topics to benefit those who reference and utilize standards.

“I believe the sharing of non-competitive knowledge through standards can assist newer technologies to be implemented more effectively for the benefit of users,” said Nicols.

For half a decade he served as the Vice Chair and subsequently Chair of SAE’s On-Road Automated Driving (ORAD) committee, actively working with the other ORAD committee members from all different sectors to ensure a smooth transition into our autonomous future. Perhaps their most well-known document, SAE J3016, which defines the levels of automation that have been used as an industry-wide reference to describe vehicle automation, was revised with heavy involvement and guidance from Nicols.

Thank you, George for your dedication to SAE standards development. We’re so grateful to have you as part of our team.

June is SAE’s Volunteer Recognition Month and we're celebrating our volunteers and contributors all month long. Interested in getting involved with opportunities like this? Reach out to