Ford, AT&T, Nokia and Qualcomm have introduced a new system, known as Cellular-V2X, but the technology no longer seems as important in the age of autonomous cars.The White House has reportedly dropped plans to roll out regulations that would have required new cars to be equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications technology.V2X systems have already rolled out for a few production cars to help alert drivers to traffic-light status, but only in a couple of cities that have spent taxpayer dollars upgrading infrastructure to support such features.
Safety advocates have promoted a mandate as clearly beneficial to safety, allowing cars to communicate with each other and avoid potential collisions even if the drivers can't see around a corner or aren't paying attention.
Sources recently told AP the Trump administration has indicated to industry representatives that the government will not pursue the final mandate. The reasoning is said to center around a reluctance to burden the automotive industry with more regulations, consistent with President Trump's campaign promises to remove red tape.
The FCC recently moved to expand spectrum allocation for sensors used in advanced autonomous systems, though Commissioner Michael O'Rielly lamented that it handed the industry a 5.9-GHz band for V2V and V2I technology almost two decades ago and there is now "little to show for it."
Some industry players are apparently moving forward without the promise of a mandate from the White House. A consortium formed by AT&T, Ford, Nokia and Qualcomm have announced a new communications protocol, known as Cellular-V2X, that will soon be put to the test in the San Diego Regional Proving Ground with support from Caltrans, the City of Chula Vista and other stakeholders.
"The trials will also be aimed at demonstrating to automakers and road operators the anticipated cost-efficient benefits associated with embedded cellular technology in vehicles and synergies between the deployment of cellular base stations and roadside infrastructure," Qualcomm says.
The companies will begin the initial testing phase late this year as the NHTSA continues to review public comments before making a final decision on the mandate proposal.