Qualcomm, NCTA, auto makers push for 5.9 GHz testing for vehicles

Automobile associations, as well as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), Intelsat and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) are all asking the FCC, in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Commerce (DOC), to conduct thorough testing for the development of vehicle safety technology in the 5.9 GHz band. 

The 5.9 GHz stakeholders and a group of lawmakers -- Commerce Committee chair Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and senators Corey Booker (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) -- sent essentially identical letters to the FCC, DOT and DOC urging them to work together to facilitate testing that could be concluded by Dec. 31, 2019, notes Broadcasting & Cable.

It's been a long haul for dedicated short range communications (DSRC) for which the FCC back in 1999 allocated the 5.850 – 5.925 GHz band for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications. As the vehicle stakeholders point out, a proceeding is pending whereby the FCC is considering permitting unlicensed technologies such as Wi-Fi to share this spectrum, so long as there isn't harmful interference to incumbent systems.

The letter says the stakeholders 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 demand for wireless broadband Internet services.

"There is broad support from interested parties, including the undersigned, for conducting tests that are fairly administered and can determine whether various sharing proposals do or do not cause harmful interference to incumbents, including primary incumbent satellite services operating in the 5.9 GHz band," the letter states. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, Intelsat, NCTA, Qualcomm and SES signed the letter.

The group wants the DOT to continue taking the lead, in coordination with the FCC and DOC, with respect to overseeing the development of 5.9 GHz DSRC technology, vehicle safety testing and 5.9 GHz capabilities testing. It also says engineers should be responsible for the 5.9 GHz interference testing and for addressing 5.9 GHz compatibility issues. To the extent possible, the group wants results of testing and underlying data to be made public in the FCC's open docket.   

Separately, transportation officials announced that New York will receive $20 million as part of a pilot program to deploy as many as 10,000 vehicles with smart devices that allow them to communicate with each other and with city infrastructure, according to TechSpot. The project expands upon V2V testing that began in Ann Arbor, Mich., with the University of Michigan.

As part of its expansion to New York, the city's vehicles will be retrofitted with sensory devices that allow anonymous V2V communication to avert crashes. The technology is also being installed in some street infrastructure, such as poles and roadside units.

For more:
- see this Equipment World article
- see this TechSpot article
- see this letter and this release

Related articles:
Cisco, automakers to test 'listen, detect and avoid' protocol for auto safety in 5.9 GHz band
Two FCC commissioners advocate new uses for DSRC
Wi-Fi advocacy groups, auto industry spar over Wi-Fi Innovation Act
Lawmakers introduce bill to open up 5.9 GHz band for Wi-Fi use
FCC opens up 100 MHz of spectrum in 5 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi