A Detroit/Silicon Valley War Is In The Air(waves)

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
a detroit silicon valley war is in the air waves

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers on Thursday sent a letter to the heads of the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Commerce, urging the groups to keep dedicated a frequency spectrum for future car communication systems.

The spectrum, which is between 5.850 GHz and 5.925 GHz, was allotted to automakers for car-to-car communication and road-to-car communication. Telecommunications and Wi-Fi industry officials have asked to share the spectrum.

“Um, no,” in the nicest possible way, from the Alliance:

We are committed to finding the best path forward to protect the development and deployment of advanced automotive safety systems while also considering the need for additional unlicensed spectrum to meet the increasing demand for wireless broadband Internet services.

Fierce Mobile Government has covered the debate for nearly a year and it seems that the two sides (automotive and telecommunications) may be at a standstill, prompting the letter on Thursday.

Nonetheless, the Alliance says that they’re willing to talk, but that the Department of Transportation should take the lead in investigating whether Wi-Fi signals could interfere with cars. (That’s probably their best shot for dedicated frequency.)

Senators from the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation also sent a letter to the federal departments Thursday asking for the same:

“The demand for spectrum resources continues to expand, requiring the federal government to work harder to find ways to utilize limited spectrum resources more effectively and efficiently. At the same time, new technologies hold tremendous promise for improving vehicle safety and significantly reducing the number of accidents and fatalities,” the senators wrote.

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Sep 10, 2015

    This is a turf war. The frequencies are allocated as short distance microwave links for Intelligent Traffic systems, but not yet used. The unlicensed bands for WiFi are full-up, if you live in a populated area. It is not without precedent in the radio frequency world for one user to look covetously upon the neighbor's property, and muse they could do a better job than the current tenant. All the links are short distance, anyone with a 5 ghz net knows that....still, if they intend to use the band for interactive systems, it must be protected.

  • Voyager Voyager on Sep 11, 2015

    Standardization, people. Standardization is the key. In the documentary "102 minutes that changed America" about 9/11, the miscommunication (literally not communicating on the same emergency channels) between New York's finest and New York's bravest, the Police and the Fire Dept., was responsible for not evacuating the second WTC tower in time.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 11, 2015

      Don't believe everything you see/hear in a documentary. That one gave short shrift to an engineers' report that noted two-thirds of the people in both towers had evacuated by ignoring the 9-1-1 instructions to sit tight and wait for rescue. They also ignored all the BS rules of evacuation by using the still-operable elevators, and ignored Hollywood's standard depiction of every-man-for-himself chaos. People organized themselves in a well executed calm, orderly evacuation, with the able bodied helping the elderly and less mobile into elevators and down stairs. While miscommunication between police and fire needs to addressed, it really didn't make much difference. Better fire retardant on the structural members that could have given rescuers more time would have helped a lot more.

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