updated 11:14 am EST, Tue February 12, 2013
Bands reserved since 1999 for vehicles may suffer from interference
Technologies being developed to aid in communications between cars may be affected by the Federal Communications Commission's plan to increase Wi-Fi spectrum. Bands reserved since 1999 for car-to-car communication may become collateral damage in the FCC's search for more wireless spectrum, and potentially puts the future of self-driving vehicles at risk.
A letter from automotive trade associations has been sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in protest of the plans, reports Bloomberg. Parallels were drawn with the LightSquared wireless broadband network proposal, which was at first approved by the FCC, before it was discovered that the signals affected GPS equipment. By opening nearby spectrum to other devices, the possibility of crosstalk or interference with the allocated-to-automotive bands could effectively cause an accident to occur.
The systems currently being developed allows cars at short range to communicate automatically, with data such as speeds, changes in direction, and other important details being transferred between the cars, with the ultimate goal of reducing collisions and vehicular accidents. Currently undergoing testing in Ann Arbor Michigan inside 3,000 vehicles, the technology is said by automakers to cost as little as $100 per vehicle to install, both from new and as an after-market option.
The FCC will be voting on the Wi-Fi proposal on February 20th.