The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is squarely behind dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) systems, telling the FCC that the 5.9 GHz DSRC spectrum is critical for the successful deployment of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology.
DSRC has come under fire in recent years, because spectrum was allocated to the automotive industry two decades ago with little to show for it. Some have suggested it will take another 30 years for DSRC technology to be sufficiently deployed to be effective on the roads. Meanwhile, the cellular industry is coming up with new standards it says perform better than DSRC and has the backing of a lot of tech companies, as well as some automakers.
ATA told the FCC in an Aug. 22 filing (PDF) that there is no other technology available today that has demonstrated the capability to perform adequately in the V2V environment. “ATA supports the need to maintain a dedicated bandwidth, free from harmful interference, on the 75 MHz within the 5.9 GHz frequency spectrum for V2V and other V2X applications.”
The U.S. government has performed tests to see whether unlicensed devices can work in the 5.9 GHz band without causing harmful interference to those who want to use it for auto-safety purposes, but the results of the tests have not been shared publicly.
The ATA says maintaining the full breadth of seven channels in the 5.9 GHz spectrum for DSRC is “essential towards enabling a wide deployment for V2X that accommodates all vehicle types, road users and infrastructure operators thereby fostering the innovation in V2X applications that will facilitate the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.”
In fact, ATA said, innovation is already occurring with the application of driver-assistive truck platooning enabled by DSRC. Truck platooning systems, which have been successfully demonstrated on U.S. roads by a number of manufacturers as well as the Federal Highway Administration, use V2V communication to connect the active safety systems, braking and acceleration between trucks.
“This V2V link, which takes place on DSRC channels separate from those reserved for other uses, provides a robust, near-instantaneous connection, allowing a lead and following trucks to share the benefits of active safety systems and synchronization of their acceleration and braking,” ATA said. “This allows the trucks to react significantly faster than a human or even radar sensors could on their own, thereby suggesting safety improvements beyond average trucks on the road today. “
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ATA also said it was pleased to see Toyota’s April 16 announcement of the company’s plans to begin deploying DSRC devices on vehicles starting in 2021. Toyota has been a big proponent of DSRC, while Ford and Qualcomm are backing the cellular industry’s C-V2X.