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Automotive Electronics Acronyms and Definitions

ABS - Antilock Brake System
A mechatronic system that senses when the wheels are skidding during braking and pulses the brake pressure to allow the wheels to turn just enough to maintain control of the car.
AEB - Automatic Emergency Braking
An automotive system that senses an imminent collision and applies the brakes even if the driver's foot is not on the brake pedal.
AEMCLRP - Automotive EMC Laboratory Recognition Committee
The Automotive EMC Laboratory Recognition Committee (AEMCLRP) is an organization serving the U.S. "Big 3" automakers that facilitates the alignment of individual automotive company EMC specifications toward common, recognized international standards. The committee administers a program for automotive EMC laboratory accreditation.
AEMCLAP - Automotive EMC Laboratory Accreditation Plan / Program
The Automotive EMC Laboratory Accreditation Plan (AEMCLAP) is administered by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation in the US, and by other organizations in the EC, Japan and SE Asia. This ‘Plan’ applies a common set of criteria for the accreditation of automotive EMC laboratories uniformly across the industry to ensure balanced and coherent application of the standards, world wide.
AF - Antenna Factor
The ratio of the received field strength to the voltage appearing at the terminals of a receiving antenna OR the ratio of the transmitted field strength at a specified distance to the voltage applied to the terminals of a transmitting antenna. Antenna factors are functions of position and frequency.
AER - All-Electric Range
The distance an electric vehicle or hybrid electric vehicle can travel on electricity alone without recharging.
AFS - Active Front Steering
A component of the electronic stability control (ESC) system in a vehicle.
AGM - Absorbed Glass Mat
A type of lead-acid battery with the electrolyte absorbed in a fiberglass-mat separator.
ALSE - Absorber-Lined Shielded Environment
An EMC test environment consisting of a shielded room with material on the walls and ceiling that absorbs electromagnetic radiation.
ANSI - American National Standards Institute
ANSI is an organization that sponsors and supports various standards including the EMC radiated emissions test standard, ANSI C63.4.
ASIC - Application Specific Integrated Circuit
An integrated circuit that designed and built for a specific application, usually in a specific product or product line.
AUTOSAR - AUtomotive Open Systems ARchitecture
AUTOSAR is an open and standardized automotive software architecture, jointly developed by automobile manufacturers, suppliers and tool developers.
AYC - Active Yaw Control
An automotive system that redistributes torque to the wheels of a vehicle to help maintain control of the vehicle when cornering.
BCI - Bulk Current Injection
A type of EMC test where common-mode currents are induced on the power and communications cables of the device under test.
BCM - Body Control Module
An automotive component containing the processor that controls non-powertrain-related functions including interior and exterior lights, displays, door locks, wipers and security systems.
BEV - Battery Electric Vehicle
Also called “pure electric” vehicle. A form of electric vehicle that uses a battery and traction motor with no internal combustion engine or fuel cells.
BLDC - Brushless Direct Current
A type of electric motor that uses a microprocessor-driven motor driver to control the amplitude and polarity of the current to the motor windings, eliminating the necessity of using brushes or commutators.
CAN - Controller Area Network
A common network protocol used in automotive applications. CAN buses employing twisted wire pairs were specifically designed to be robust in electromagnetically noisy environments. The applications of CAN bus in automobiles include window and seat operation (low speed), engine management (high speed), brake control (high speed) and many other systems. CAN buses can also be found in other embedded control applications such as factory automation, building automation, and aerospace systems.
CB - Citizens' Band
A type of radio for short distance person-to-person communications operating at a frequency at or near 27 MHz. There are 40 CB radio channels in the U.S. operating at frequencies between 29.965 MHz and 27.405 MHz.
CENELEC - European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
CENELEC’s mission is to prepare voluntary electrotechnical standards (including EMC standards) that help develop the Single European Market/European Economic Area for electrical and electronic goods and services removing barriers to trade, creating new markets and cutting compliance costs.
CISPR - Committee on Special International Committee on Radio Interference
CISPR is an international organization concerned with developing standards for detecting, measuring and comparing electromagnetic interference in electric devices.
CMOS - Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
A semiconductor fabrication technology characterized by relatively low quiescent power consumption capable of very high speed switching. Most digital semiconductor devices in an automobile including all of the microprocessors and microcontrollers are CMOS devices.
CPU - Central Processing Unit
The part of a microprocessor or microcontroller that does the arithmetic computations.
DCT - Dual Clutch Transmission
A semi-automatic transmission with separate clutches for odd and even gears.
DSC - Dynamic Stability Control
Another name for the electronic stability control (ESC) system in a vehicle.
DSP - Digital Signal Processor
A microprocessor optimized to digitize analog signals and process the signal information.
ECM - Engine Control Module
An electronic module that controls the operation of an internal combustion engine including the throttle, fuel injection and spark timing.
ECU - Electronic Control Unit
The device in an automotive electronic system that controls the operation of the system. A typical automobile will have dozens of ECUs.
EEPROM - Electrically Erasable Programmable Read only Memory
Electronic memory devices that keep information stored even without power, but can be erased and reprogrammed electrically.
EMC - Electromagnetic Compatibility
The ability of an electronic device or system to function without error in its intended electromagnetic environment.
EMD - Electromagnetic Disturbance
Any electromagnetic phenomenon that may interfere with the normal function of an electronic device.
EMI - Electromagnetic Interference
The disruption of an electronic device or system due to an electromagnetic phenomena
EREV - Extended-Range Electric Vehicle
A vehicle that functions as full-performance electric vehicle when energy is available from an on-board battery and having an auxiliary energy supply that is only engaged when the battery energy is not available.
ESC - Electronic Stability Control
An automotive system that helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle in severe driving situations.
ESD - Electrostatic Discharge
A sudden surge in current usually due to an electric spark or dielectric breakdown characterized by risetimes less than one nanosecond and total pulse widths on the order of microseconds.
ESP - Electronic Stability Program
Another name for the electronic stability control (ESC) system in a vehicle.
EUT - Equipment Under Test
The device being evaluated by an EMC test (see also DUT).
FCV - Fuel Cell Vehicle
A vehicle that employs fuel cells, which chemically convert hydrogen to electrical energy used for propulsion.
FFT - Fast Fourier Transform
An algorithm for quickly calculating the frequency-domain representation of a time-domain signal.
HEV - Hybrid Electric Vehicle
A vehicle with an internal combustion engine and an electric motor drive.
HMI - Human-Machine Interface
Refers to ways that the driver interacts with automotive systems.
HVAC - Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
The cabin environmental controls in automobiles (or buildings).
ICE - Internal Combustion Engine
Engine with pistons that burns gasoline or some other highly combustible fuel.
ICM - Ignition Control Module
The electronic control for the ignition system.
ICT - Information and Communication Technology
The general term for communication technology such as the navigation and communication systems in an automobile.
IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission
The IEC is an international organization that prepares and publishes international standards (including many EMC standards) for all electrical, electronic and related technologies.
IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
IEEE is the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology. The IEEE name was originally an acronym for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. Today, the organization's scope of interest has expanded into so many related fields, that it is simply referred to by the letters I-E-E-E (pronounced Eye-triple-E).
ISO - International Organization for Standardization
ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.
IVHM - Integrated Vehicle Health Management
A concept originating in aerospace electronics, that is finding a home in the automotive industry. An active area of research in the Clemson Vehicular Electronics Lab.
LED - Light Emitting Diode
A light source of growing importance to the automobile industry. LEDs are more efficient and more durable than incandescent light sources.
LIN - Local Interconnect Network
A common network protocol used in automotive applications. A primary advantage of this bus is that it can be implemented with a single wire (using the vehicle chassis as a current return path). A small and relatively slow in-vehicle communication and networking serial bus system, LIN bus is used to integrate intelligent sensors and actuators.
LISN - Line Impedance Stabilization Network
A passive, two-port network that is placed between the power supply and the power input of equipment under test. It passes power to the equipment while providing a known high-frequency impedance. Test equipment for measuring the voltage on the power supply lines is connected directly to the LISN.
Load Dump
A voltage spike in an automotive power distribution system caused by a momentary loss of the connection to the battery while the alternator is supplying current.
LTCC - Low Temperature Cold Fired Ceramic
A microelectronics packaging technology particularly well suited for wireless and high-frequency applications.
MEMS - MicroElectro-Mechanical System
Tiny electro-mechanical devices etched in silicon. MEMS technology is used to make a variety of sensors used in automobiles. MEMS sensors are small, rugged and low-cost in high volumes.
MMIC - Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit
Integrated circuits (on silicon or gallium arsenide) that operate at microwave frequencies. This technology is typically used in automotive radar transceivers.
MOST - Media Oriented Systems Transport
A network protocol employing optical fiber used in automotive entertainment applications.
OATS - Open Area Test Site
An EMC test environment free of reflecting objects except a ground plane.
OBDII - On Board Diagnostics generation II
An automotive network for communicating information relevant to emissions control.
PCB - Printed Circuit Board
A board consisting of layers of copper connections separated by a fiberglass resin or ceramic dielectric. Electronic components are usually mounted on the top and/or bottom of the board.
PCM - Powertrain Control Module
A module that combines the functions of the engine control module (ECM) and the transmission control module (TCM).
PHEV - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
A vehicle with an internal combustion engine and an electric motor drive whose batteries are capable of being recharged by plugging into an external power source.
PODS - Passive Occupant Detection System
A system that detects the presence and size of a person seated in the passenger seat of an automobile.
PWM - Pulse Width Modulation
A technique for regulating the amount of energy conveyed in a digital (on/off) signal by regulating the width of pulses that are transmitted at a given frequency.
RADAR - RAdiation Detecting and Ranging
A technology that relies on the reflection of electromagnetic signals to determine the distance and velocity of far away objects.
RAM - Random Access Memory
Electronic digital memory that can be accessed by providing a specific address for the information desired.
ROM - Read Only Memory
Electronic digital memory that can be read, but not rewritten or erased.
RF - Radio Frequency
A frequency at which electromagnetic radiation of energy is useful for communications. Radio frequencies are designated as very low: 3 kHz to 30 kHz, low: 30 to 300 kHz, medium: 300 to 3,000 kHz, high: 3 to 30 MHz, very high: 30 to 300 MHz, ultrahigh: 300 to 3,000 MHz, super high: 3 to 30 GHz, and extremely high: 30 to 300 GHz.
RKE - Remote Keyless Entry
A automotive system that unlocks doors and latches using a wireless signal transmitted from a key fob.
RKI - Remote Keyless Ignition
A automotive system that allows a car engine to be started without inserting a key into an ignition switch. Most systems use an encoded wireless signal transmitted from a key fob or a system of sensors in the vehicle that detect the presence of the key wirelessly.
TCM - Transmission Control Module (also TCU - Transmission Control Unit)
A component containing the processor that controls the operation of an automatic transmission.
TEM - Transverse ElectroMagnetic
An electromagnetic plane wave where the electric and magnetic fields are perpendicular to each other everywhere and both fields are perpendicular to the direction of propagation. TEM cells are often used to generate TEM waves for radiated immunity (RI) testing.
SAE - Society of Automotive Engineers
A professional society for automotive and aerospace engineers. Formerly, SAE was an acronym for the Society of Automotive Engineers. Now, the society is officially called SAE International.
SMD - Surface Mount Device
An electronic component with no leads that is glued to a printed circuit board, then wave-soldered. Also called SMT devices (for Surface Mount Technology).
VCO - Voltage Controlled Oscillator
A component that generates a sine wave with a frequency that is proportional to the amplitude of an input voltage.
VDC - Vehicle Dynamic Control
Another name for the electronic stability control (ESC) system in a vehicle.
VRLA - Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid
Another name for a sealed lead-acid battery. VRLA batteries do not require regular addition of water to the cells, and vent less gas than regular lead-acid batteries. AGM batteries and Gel Cells are two forms of VRLA batteries.
VSA - Vehicle Stability Assist
Another name for the electronic stability control (ESC) system in a vehicle.
VTSS - Vehicle Theft Security System
A system of sensors, actuators and alarms that protect a vehicle from unauthorized entry or operation.
XTALK - Crosstalk
A measure of the electromagnetic coupling from one circuit to another.