The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is a professional organization and standards body for the engineering of powered vehicles of all kinds, including cars, trucks, boats, aircraft and others.
Starting out as the Society of Automobile Engineers in 1905, their original purpose was to promote the use of standards in the nascent automobile industry (initially in the United States) and to promote the better interchange of ideas and expertise, in a similar manner to many other technical societies.
Although beginnings were modest with only 30 inaugural members (Henry Ford was the inaugural vice-president), numbers grew steadily. Membership reached approximately 1800 by 1916, at which point the society expanded its mission to cover all forms of self-powered transport, including aircraft, boats, agricultural machinery and others. The new word automotive was coined by the Society to describe all self-powered vehicles, and the name was changed.
After World War II the Society established links with other standards bodies and automotive engineering societies worldwide and since then has founded sections in a number of countries formerly lacking such organizations. A quarter of the Society's membership today is from outside of North America.
The SAE has established widely-followed standards in all manner of things automotive, but the most familiar to the average American consumer are its standards for measuring automobile power in units of horsepower (SAE Net Horsepower) generally followed in the USA after the early 1970s, and its engine lubricating oil classification standards.