Vehicle Dynamics Terminology

  • 2008-01-24
  • SAE International

The vehicle dynamics terminology presented herein pertains to passenger cars and light trucks with two axles and to those vehicles pulling single-axle trailers. The terminology presents symbols and definitions covering the following subjects: axis systems, vehicle bodies, suspension and steering systems, brakes, tires and wheels, operating states and modes, control and disturbance inputs, vehicle responses, and vehicle characterizing descriptors. The scope does not include terms relating to the human perception of vehicle response.


SAE J670 was last updated over 30 years ago. Since the last revision, the field of vehicle dynamics has changed significantly. New systems such as four-wheel steering and active control have been applied to enhance the performance of vehicles. The terminology for vehicle dynamics needed to be updated to accommodate these new technologies and to make the definitions consistent with current usage in the field. Accordingly, many new terms have been added to the terminology to provide formal definitions for terms that are associated with these new technologies. A number of existing definitions, which were based on front-wheel steer vehicles with passive control, were also revised to accommodate new technologies.

In addition, new SAE and ISO standards have been published since the last revision of SAE J670 that directly relate to topics considered in SAE J670. The content of these new standards also indicated the need to revise SAE J670.

Specifically, in 1987, SAE published J1594, containing aerodynamics terminology previously appearing in SAE J670e. The aerodynamics section of SAE J670e is not included in the revised document, because those terms are now defined in SAE J1594.

In 1991, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published a vehicle dynamics vocabulary, ISO 8855. SAE J670e and ISO 8855 are incompatible in several aspects, the most notable being the axis systems defined in the two documents. SAE J670e utilizes an axis system based on aeronautical practice, with positive X forward, positive Y to the right, and positive Z down. ISO 8855 utilizes an axis system with positive X forward, positive Y to the left, and positive Z up. The revised SAE J670 embraces both of these axis orientations. The revised SAE J670 additionally addresses technical shortcomings found in both SAE J670e and ISO 8855 and is a harmonized superset of the two documents.

In 1998, SAE published J2047, containing definitions for tire performance terms that were previously defined in SAE J670e. The revised SAE J670 utilizes many definitions excerpted from SAE J2047, although some of these definitions are revised to enhance their applicability to vehicle dynamics. Several of the sections of SAE J670e dealing with vibration terminology are not included in the new SAE J670, as the terms that were defined in these sections are commonly defined in engineering textbooks and the definitions are not specific to vehicle dynamics.

Finally, the terminology is extended to include definitions for many suspension and steering components, to enhance communication among vehicle dynamics professionals.

This seventh edition of SAE J670 replaces the preceding edition (SAE J670e) in its entirety.

Standard Published Revision Status
J670_200801 2008-01-24 Latest Revised
1976-07-01 Historical Revised
1976-07-01 Historical Revised
1974-07-01 Historical Revised
1972-03-01 Historical Revised
1970-05-01 Historical Revised
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