Automotive Glossary

Active noise control (ANC) To eliminate air intake noise in the engine, a loudspeaker installed in the intake system is used to generate a sound wave of the same amplitude but opposite phase. (It cancels out the unpleasant sound.) Adaptive cruise control (ACC) The ACC system scans the area ahead of a car for objects - mainly other cars - and applies the brakes automatically if a collision is likely to occur.

AEC-Q100 An automotive quality standard that outlines the stress test for IC qualification in automobiles. Altera is an active member of the AEC council, which governs this standard. AUTOSAR Automotive System Architecture consortium was established to define an open standard for automotive E/E architecture. It serves as a basic infrastructure for the management of functions within both future applications and standard software modules.

Advanced driver information systems (ADIS) A combination of infrastructure and in-vehicle displays that communicate information to the driver (both emergency and general information). Advanced mobile phone system (AMPS) A first-generation analog cellular phone system that originated in the United States.

Advanced traffic management systems (ATMS) An array of institutional, human, hardware, and software components designed to monitor, control, and manage traffic on streets and highways. Advanced traveler information systems (ATIS) Vehicle features that assists the driver with planning, perception, analysis, and decision-making.

Advanced vehicle control systems (AVCS) Vehicle systems that automate current functions such as distance-keeping, lane-changing, and ramp-merging. Antilock braking system (ABS) Keeps the tires from locking while braking. The car can still be handled without losing control.

Automated clearance sensing (ACS) Commercial vehicle operations (CVO) technology used to help large vehicles negotiate low or limited clearance objects such as bridges and viaducts. Automated vehicle classification (AVC) Used in commercial vehicle operations (CVO), AVC electronically identifies a vehicle’s type. This system decreases the amount of time required at border crossings by reducing the amount of paperwork drivers have to process.

Automated vehicle identification (AVI) A system that combines an on-board transponder with roadside receivers for electronic toll collection (ETC) and stolen vehicle recovery. Automated vehicle location system (AVLS) Automated Vehicle Location System; a computerized system that tracks the current location of vehicles in a fleet. Used to assist in applications such as dispatching.

Automatic highway advisory radio (AHAR) American traffic information broadcasting system whose transmissions are received through car radios which automatically interrupt other radio reception and tune to the correct station.

BabySmart Childseat presence orientation detection (CPOD) is a pressure-sensitive foil with integrated antenna and resonators in the childseat to keep the airbag from firing with full capacity if necessary and was developed by Mercedes-Benz. Bluetooth A computing and telecommunications industry specification that describes how embedded devices such as mobile phones, radios, headsets, and personal digital assistants can easily interconnect with each other and within vehicle devices using a short-range wireless connection.

Childseat presence orientation detection (CPOD) A system that detects the presence and orientation of a childseat on the front passenger seat that was developed by the IEEE. It is also known as BabySmart, and was developed by Mercedes-Benz. Commercial vehicle operations (CVO) CVO is the application of intelligent transportation system technology to commercial vehicles.

Controller area network (CAN) A serial bus system especially suited for networking "intelligent" devices as well as sensors and actuators within a system or sub-system. CAN2.0A is an 11-bit identifier; CAN2.0B is a 29-bit identifier.

Database standards task group A subcommittee of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE’s) intelligent transportation systems (ITS) division for the purpose of developing standards for digital street map databases, including standardization of terms and the use of that nomenclature to facilitate evaluation and comparison of the completeness and content level of various databases. Differential global positioning system (DGPS) A differential global positioning system (GPS) land station-based method for improving GPS accuracy or getting around U.S. Department of Defense-imposed selective availability (S/A) encryption.

Digital audio broadcast (DAB) A digital technology offering considerable advantages over today’s FM radio, both to listeners and broadcasters. The most obvious benefit to listeners is DAB’s ability to deliver CD-quality stereo sound robustly and reliably, even to mobile receivers, using only a simple rod antenna. FM reception is often distorted or interrupted by multi-path interference in moving vehicles in particular, as reflections from hills and buildings arrive out of phase with the main signal. By contrast, the DAB receiver’s powerful processor use these "shadows" to reinforce the main signal. Digital audio radio (DAR) Digital audio broadcast (DAB) receiver.

Digital transmission control protection (DTCP) A digital rights management technology. The DTCP standard was issued by the Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator (DTLA) to protect multimedia distribution in the digital home.

Electronic control unit (ECU) The main computer in a car that controls all facets of the engine. Electronic feedback carburetor A fuel-metering device in which the air to fuel ratio is controlled by continual variations of the metering rod position or air bypass modulation in response to an electronic control signal.

Electronic throttle control (ETC) An acceleration pedal controls the throttle by means of a computer-controlled stepping motor in lieu of a conventional linkage from pedal to throttle. Electronic valve timing (EVT) A system where the opening and closing times and cylinder valves’ lift are controlled by computer.

Emergency message systems (EMS) Any electronic unit that can control either fuel delivery or ignition timing or both. It is usually used to describe a stand-alone, aftermarket computer.
FlexRay A communication system that will support the needs of future in-car control applications. Fuel injector (electronic)  An electro-mechanical device that precisely meters fuel into an internal combustion engine based on a time electronic input.

Gateway A device that allows consumer products to interface with the communication system in vehicles, while protecting the vehicle’s system from defective devices or inappropriate messages. Geographic data format (GDF) A transfer file specification for digital roadway and topological map databases. The format includes specifications for database encoding.

Global positioning system (GPS) An array of satellites deployed and maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense, which can be monitored to triangulate an accurate position on the earth’s surface.

IDB ITS data bus A medium-speed multiplexed bus intended for command and control of devices in vehicles. IDB-1394 An in-vehicle network protocol designed for high-speed multimedia applications that require large amounts of information to be moved quickly on a vehicle. Previously known as IDB-M, IDB-1394 is built on the IEEE-1394 standard.

IDB-C An in-vehicle network defined in the SAE J2366 - ITS data bus specifications series. IDB-C is based on CAN 2.0B (controller area network) silicon and physical layer, specifically on SAE J2284 - high-speed CAN. Intelligent switching unit (ISU) Provides integration and functionality in the cockpit module with reduced cost, thanks to a new human-machine interface, impulse-coded steering wheel command, integrated low current switches and smart key.

Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) A broad range of diverse technologies, including information processing, communications, control and electronics, which, when applied to a transportation system, can save time, money and lives. Infotainment The telematics market is slowly evolving into "infotainment" (information and entertainment) to combine everything from safety and security to routing and entertainment including Internet access and video games. Vehicle manufacturers increasingly offer infotainment systems either as original equipment or optional packages.

In-vehicle signing On-board display of roadside sign information. The information can be obtained either by short-range transmission from roadside beacons or from on-board data storage. In-vehicle signs are utilized to improve driver effectiveness, especially when driving at night or during inclement weather conditions.

JASPAR Japan Automotive Software Platform Architecture consortium was created by Japanese OEMs to define an open architectural platform, whereby making it easier for all the suppliers and OEMs to develop the next-generation system architecture.

Local interconnect network (LIN) A new low-cost serial communication system intended to be used for distributed electronic systems in vehicles, which complements the existing portfolio of automotive multiplex networks.

Mechatronics The introduction of electronic controls into mechanical components. Media oriented system transport (MOST) A versatile, high-performance and low-cost multimedia network technology based on synchronous data communication. It is ideal for multimedia applications such as audio, video, navigation, and communication in the automotive sector.

OSEK/VDX An operating system, communication and network management specification developed by automotive industry companies. OSEK/VDX was created as a joint project in the German and French automotive industry aimed at an industry standard for an open-ended architecture for distributed control units in vehicles.

Passenger presence detection (PPD) A sensor system that is able to detect the presence of a passenger. Different systems are known as infrared scanning weight sensing, capacitive measurement. Pixel The smallest unit of color in a display. Frames are made up of lines and columns of pixels. The number of pixel lines in each frame expresses video resolution.

Plasma display panel (PDP) Flat panel display using plasma electronic technology. Production part approval process (PPAP) PPAP, 3rd edition, Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) is one of the key requirements for the automotive industry. A PPAP document outlines all the manufacturing quality processes that an integrated circuit (IC) manufacturer undertakes for a specific device.

Radio data systems (RDS) An information transmission system that was defined by the European Broadcasting Union. Route guidance database The detailed information required for a computer to generate a high-quality driving route between two locations. Information includes geometry, street names, addresses, speed limits, turn restrictions, one-way restrictions, road levels, and roadway connections.

Sensor An energy conversion device that measures some physical quantity and converts it to an electrical quantity. SmartKey Electronically coded key used both to enter and start the vehicle developed by Mercedes-Benz.

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) A one-stop resource for technical information and expertise used in designing, building, maintaining and operating self-propelled vehicles for use on land or sea, in air or space. Standard positioning service (SPS) A civilian version of the GPS.

Telematics Telematics can be defined as a combination of wireless voice and data communication systems aimed at providing drivers with safety and information including automatic airbag deployment notification, vehicle tracking, personalized information, real-time traffic data, emergency aid, and entertainment from a central service center. Innovative features include Internet access, voice activation, and the ability to control the car audio and climate control. Telematics control unit (TCU) The embedded vehicle control unit that communicates with the automobile controls, GPS satellite, and customer service center to provide telematics features to a driver.

Traffic message channel (TMC) The TMC transmits (on FM subcarriers) digital codes representing standardized traffic information messages to be decoded and displayed (or spoken) in any given language by in-vehicle receiver. Turn-by-turn route guidance A method of providing route guidance by sequentially delivering upcoming maneuver information to the driver visually and/or audibly as the route is driven.

TS16949  ISO/TS 16949:2002 is an ISO technical specification, which aligns existing American (QS-9000), German (VDA6.1), French (EAQF), and Italian (AVSQ) automotive quality systems standards within the global automotive industry, with the aim of eliminating the need for multiple certifications to satisfy multiple customer requirements.