CONNECTED VEHICLES: Opening of connected vehicle band raises concern

Unlicensed transmissions could interrupt vehicle communication

January 28, 2013

A proposal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to open up the 5.9 gigahertz (GHz) band for unlicensed use has transportation groups concerned about its impact on connected vehicle technology.

At present, the U.S. Department of Transportation has exclusive access to the 5.9 GHz band for testing of connected vehicle technology. The FCC, however, wants to utilize the frequency to "increase speeds and alleviate Wi-Fi congestion at major hubs, such as airports, convention centers, and large conference gatherings."

Members of the transportation industry are concerned that unlicensed transmissions on the same band will interfere with vehicles’ ability to communicate with each other. The connected vehicle technology allows cars to share information on driving conditions, including vehicle position, speed, weather, road conditions and traffic signal timing.