Car-to-Car Technology Innovators Ask FCC to Defend Their Dedicated Wi-Fi Space

By Tracey E. Schelmetic February 12, 2013

If you spend a lot of time driving, or have a long commute, you’ll probably agree that the idea of self-driving cars is pretty compelling. People do a lot of stupid and dangerous things in cars, and with every year that passes, it seems like you take your life in your hands each time you head out onto the road. From distracted drivers staring at smartphones to NASCAR-wannabees cutting in and out of lanes in an effort to arrive at their destinations six seconds earlier, U.S. roads are becoming a more dangerous place.

It’s significant that distracted driving accidents have spiked sharply, and U.S. traffic deaths rose in 2012 for the first time in five years.

While self-driving cars are hardly right around the corner, a number of companies and consortiums have been experimenting with technology that allows cars to “talk” to each other so (essentially) they can avoid hitting one another. These car-to-car communication systems could also lead to traffic abatement and best-route navigation that could save on gas and emissions. 


Image via Shutterstock

The auto industry – most prominently Ford and Toyota and their technology partners and suppliers -- is being forced to defend its turf this week: that is, its Wi-Fi turf. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to propose rules next week that will allow new users into airwaves near those allocated since 1999 to developing car-to-car wireless communications. Car-to-car technology advocators worry that any interference will negatively affect systems that may be available in cars in the future.

Technology insiders worry the situation could become similar to that of LightSquared, a wholesale 4G LTE wireless broadband communications network integrated with satellite coverage whose services, initially approved by the FCC, used a block of frequencies located near the band used by the Global Positioning System (GPS). Evidence of potential interference with GPS systems ultimately caused the FCC to ban LightSquared’s proposed national broadband network. LightSquared filed for bankruptcy in May of last year.

“In a situation like LightSquared, what happened was the FCC got out ahead of itself,” Gregory Rohde, a former chief of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Commerce Department arm that oversees federal airwaves use, told Bloomberg News.

While the nation is hungry for more wireless and Wi-Fi bandwidth, auto industry spokespeople say this area is not the place to seek it, given the potential for car accidents from faulty systems or those overcome by interference. Automakers say the car-to-car technology could be installed in new cars at a cost of about $100 a vehicle, or sold as after-market devices.




Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Microsoft Research Project Allows for Inexpensive 3D Scanning from a Smartphone

By: Christopher Mohr    8/27/2015

It is now possible to perform 3D scanning from a smartphone, without additional hardware or an Internet connection, thanks to a new Microsoft Research…

Read More

Amazon's Scaled Back Consumer Device Efforts, Dash Button, and More

By: Paula Bernier    8/27/2015

Word is that Amazon is scaling way back on its consumer devices efforts, having let go of dozens of Lab126 engineers who worked on its Fire phone, acc…

Read More

The 4K War is Brewing, but Don't Expect a Crowned Winner

By: Special Guest    8/27/2015

The hype around 4K Ultra HD video is growing and we're seeing it gain traction in real ways. From the NFL Network and CBS using 4K cameras to capture …

Read More

Wallet Wars Part 2: Thanks to EMV, the Force is with Mobile Wallets

By: Special Guest    8/26/2015

In December 2015, when "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hits movie theatres across the U.S., a very different type of force will 'awaken' the mobile wal…

Read More

Major Automakers Forge Alliance to Combat Cyberattackers

By: Joe Rizzo    8/25/2015

If you take a few minutes to think about what hackers go after, you'll realize that it is anything that has an Internet connection. Thanks to the Inte…

Read More