Challenges for Future Auto Safety Technology

[The Hill]

Imagine a world where cars are equipped with technology that will give drivers the ability to see pedestrians around blind curves and warn drivers of hidden obstacles. This world may not be as far off as you might think. In fact, Toyota and other auto companies are already leading the way in developing new connected car technology, supported by “dedicated short-range communication” (DSRC), which actually allows vehicles to communicate with each other to detect and avoid safety hazards.

I came to Washington, D.C. from Silicon Valley this week to testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communication and Technology about our efforts to pioneer the next big thing in auto safety technology.

At issue is a Federal Communications Commission proposal to open up the DSRC spectrum (5.9 GHz) to use by unlicensed wireless devices like Wi-Fi.  This is the same band the FCC allocated for development of DSRC technology. While we are not conceptually opposed to sharing this spectrum with unlicensed devices, the FCC should not open up the spectrum for sharing until we determine if it can be done without causing harmful interference to DSRC.  We need to identify new sharing technology, and then verify it through rigorous testing.


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