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Connected Cars Get a Cellular Plan

April 7, 2020

Author: Mike Demler

More than three years have passed since the 3GPP completed its initial Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) specification, part of Release 14, but the technology is finally gaining traction. In China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) designated 20MHz in the 5.9GHz band for C-V2X, and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) set a goal of 90% network coverage in 2020. Because it never deployed the legacy dedicated-short-range-communications (DSRC) system, which uses 802.11p Wi-Fi for V2X communications, China can proceed more rapidly than other countries.

In the US, however, deployment remains stalled while the FCC collects input on Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to reallocate the 5.9GHz spectrum it reserved for DSRC more than 20 years ago. But C-V2X proponents are encouraged because Pai accepted a 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) petition to allow deployment of the 3GPP technology.  Starting in 2022, Ford plans to equip all its vehicles with C-V2X.

The 5GAA has made progress in Europe, where DSRC is called ITS-G5. In December, lobbying by the organization helped scuttle the EU Commission’s plan to standardize on 802.11p. Instead, the EU will allow C-V2X coexistence with DSRC.

In 1999, the US Department of Transportation envisioned building a nationwide intelligent transportation system powered by DSRC. In 2020, that vision has yet to become reality. Many business, regulatory, and technical issues remain unresolved, but in 2022, the US will finally see a significant number of vehicles with V2V capabilities. Along with ADASs, V2V will increase vehicle safety, but China will be first to realize the DOT’s dream of an intelligent transportation system.

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