Skip to main content
conference lunch move company map contacts lindholmen lindholmen 2 travel info


Definitions of Confusing Auto Tech Terminology

Understanding the limitations and capabilities of different Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is crucial. Unfortunately, the terminology used to describe them varies a lot and includes marketing jargon that often exaggerates capabilities. Recently, efforts have been made to improve that language. [1]

A group of safety organizations have put forth a set of common definitions that aim to better define the differences between systems. The definitions are not intended to override the marketing strategies of individual automakers, but instead to standardize key functions of driver-assist systems. "This is critical to ensure that drivers are aware these systems are designed to assist, not replace, an engaged driver," said the group, composed of members from AAA, Consumer Reports, J.D. Power and the National Safety Council and endorsed by SAE International. In parallel, SAE has initiated a revision of the standard: Active Safety Systems Terms and Definitions (SAE J3063). [2]


Personal comment

With the steady introduction of warning-, intervention- and assistance systems the burden has become greater for consumers to keep track of these functions. In addition, OEMs are inclined to put their own names on their specific versions of functions (i.e. Pilot assist, Super Cruise, Ultra Cruise [3]) which is sure to create confusion. This has in some cases also resulted in names with allusions to more capable and independent functions (e.g. Autopilot), than the “stay-in-the-loop”-critical (SAE level 2) systems available today. Hopefully, the (heavily US-driven) initiative is a step towards more clarity, even if it is not aimed at replacing, but to help define, differently branded ADAS.


Written by Victor Malmsten Lundgren, RISE.



1. 2020-05-14. A push to clear up confusing auto tech terminology

2. 2020-05-12. SAE International Endorses Joint Effort by AAA, Consumer Reports, J.D. Power and the National Safety Council for Common Naming of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

3. 2020-05-19. GM Working on Ultra Cruise Hands-Off Driving for City Streets