Automakers Oppose FCC's Proposal to Free Up Wireless Spectrum for Wi-Fi
February 22, 2013 1:54 PM
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The auto industry said it will pose a risk to vehicle-to-vehicle technologies that need this wireless spectrum
Automakers aren't too happy about a recent U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal, which
uses part of the wireless spectrum
assigned to vehicle-to-vehicle technology for Wi-Fi instead.
The FCC announced that it plans to
free up 195 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band
for unlicensed use in an effort to address the U.S.' spectrum crisis. This could potentially lead to Wi-Fi speeds faster than 1 gigabit per second.
The FCC voted unanimously on the topic Wednesday of this week.
However, the auto industry said this would take away previously reserved wireless spectrum for vehicle-to-vehicle technology -- which has the potential to save lives.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is a trade group consisting of Detroit's Big Three Automakers, Toyota, Volkswagen AG and some other auto companies, is among those who are upset by the FCC's latest proposal.
"[Automakers] already invested heavily in the research and development of these safety critical systems, and our successes have been based on working closely with our federal partners," said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "It is imperative that, as we move forward, we do adequate research and testing on potential interference issues that could arise from opening up this band to unlicensed users and that the commission not rush to judgment before this important analysis can be done."
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America added that "the desire of the commission to move forward expeditiously, while cautioning against putting near-term life-saving innovations like connected vehicle technology at risk in the pursuit of future Wi-Fi applications."
The auto industry isn't the only one concerned with the new proposal. Certain government agencies -- like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- see commercial users jumping on bands used by these agencies and posing a potential risk in doing so.
The Detroit News
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2/25/2013 9:22:25 AM
It is a very nice explanation, but it is too idealistic and exaggerates the problem. I've never seen anyone wait anywhere near 7 seconds after the car in front of them moves before they move (not even great grandma with her nerve-wrackingly slow reaction time). Look at a clock and watch it for seven seconds. It's a whole lot longer than you seem to think. That said, the premise is still valid even if a whole lot less severe than you make it out to be.
In an ideal world, computer's in your car would be capable would be capable of addressing or avoiding traffic congestion with a zero chance of error, conflict, communications loss, or mechanical failure. In such a case, simultaneous acceleration is possible. However, even this issue brought up here should tell you that will never happen. There is never a guarantee that some form of interference won't cut off communications. Furthermore, until all cars are equipped with such a system, it can't possibly achieve simultaneous acceleration safely. Therefore, a more conservative (less efficient) approach must be taken. Another point of interest is that to achieve simultaneous or near simultaneous acceleration, control must be taken from the driver. There is little difference in reaction time to a vehicle moving vs an indicator telling you you can move. Plus, only the computer would know the safe rate of acceleration. Having control of the vehicle randomly usurped (and by extension returned at random) would create huge problems. You would most likely need to fully automate the driving to prevent wrecks from reactions to sudden control switches.
Until society as a
is comfortable with automated drivers, your idealistic traffic jam reducer won't work. A single manual control vehicle would require the entire set to play it "safe".
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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