The general consensus among experts, including Consumer Reports, is that some form of effective V2X communication could save thousands of lives each year, if vehicles can communicate with each other and smart infrastructure to prevent crashes.
Consumer Reports isn’t wedded to a particular technological approach, but we value speed of adoption. And right now, DSRC over years of testing is the only technology that has been validated and is ready to deploy.
But under the FCC proposal, 45 megahertz of the reserved “safety spectrum” would be reallocated for WiFi. Of the 30 MHz remaining for V2X, one-third will remain available for DSRC and two-thirds will be set aside for C-V2X.
The FCC approved its plan in a 5-0 bipartisan vote Dec. 12, but it could take many months for a final approval after a public comment period and other regulatory hurdles are cleared.
Audi is now the second automaker to commit to using C-V2X in the U.S. Ford Motor Co. has said that it will be equipping all its U.S. vehicles with C-V2X in 2022 and that it’s doing so because it can take advantage of modems for connected-car services already installed in vehicles.
Toyota and General Motors have backed DSRC in the past, but neither automaker is currently committed to rolling out new vehicles with the needed shortwave radio transmitters.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has been a strong advocate of keeping all 75 MHz of the airwaves reserved for auto safety, as they have been since 1999. Last week, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced a new $38 million program to avoid crashes and aid first responders by equipping emergency vehicles and key infrastructure with DSRC transmitters. There are 87 DSRC test projects currently operating across the country.