The frequency known as “the vehicle safety spectrum” will soon be used for non-automotive applications.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Dec. 12 to share the 5.9 GHz band with other uses, such as Wi-Fi.
The ruling was made despite the objection of the automotive industry which argued that splitting the signal could put advancements in motor vehicle safety technology at risk.
The spectrum was originally set aside for the exclusive use of the transportation industry for vehicle-to-vehicle communications and other developing technologies that could significantly decrease the number of crashes that occur every year. Under the decision of the FCC, 45 of 75 MHz will be available for unlicensed use, with 30 MHz left for vehicle safety technology.
The Motor Equipment Marketing Association (MEMA) has long advocated that the spectrum be preserved as intended and maintained in its entirety. Over the long term, opening the spectrum to other uses may hinder vehicle safety communication deployment. The reservation of this spectrum is indispensable for future safety systems and the development of automated driving. We cannot risk losing this critical capability.
MEMA said it will continue to work on behalf of suppliers in support of preserving the vehicle safety spectrum. These efforts will include filing comments to the formal proposal during the public comment period and pursuing additional advocacy work in coordination with other stakeholders.