US DOT Holds Conference on Traffic Safety and the 5.9-GHz Spectrum

Date: June 13, 2019
Source: Telematics Talk

At the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Conference on Traffic Safety and the 5.9-GHz Spectrum, the deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reiterated that the agency’s No. 1 priority is safety, the Automotive Service Association reported.

NHTSA’s Heidi King said using the 5.9-gigahertz spectrum to incorporate vehicle-to-everything technologies within the U.S. infrastructure will promote enhanced safety to all Americans.

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) includes vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, vehicle-to-pedestrian communications and vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Collectively, this technology would enhance traffic flow, decrease congestion and assist in seeing around blind spots, as well as reduce fuel use and emissions, proponents say.

NHTSA and other government agencies have been working on developing vehicle-to-vehicle communication, where vehicles communicate wirelessly with each other. That would allow “vehicles to broadcast and receive omni-directional messages … creating a 360-degree ‘awareness’ of other vehicles in proximity.”

The DOT has partnered with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to deploy programs and test this technology nationwide.

Throughout the conference, all the panelists said DOT officials, automakers and research institutes echoed these same sentiments. They emphasized this technology is not only innovative and efficient, but it also it can reduce the number of lives lost due to auto-related accidents per year.

Panelists also agreed that moving forward with the technology was important, while staying competitive and innovative, to start reducing the number of auto-related injuries and deaths.

While there are at least 75 nationwide programs testing this technology and deploying it into parts of their infrastructure and cities, panelists also voiced trepidation regarding the availability and “certainty of the spectrum.”

All seven channels of the 5.9 GHz are being used. However, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the FCC should open up a rulemaking proceeding and seek comments on proposals for the spectrum’s future.

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