The FT reports that a battle is brewing between European telecoms and automakers over which technology will be used to power communications with smart cars. The automakers want to use a short-range vehicle to vehicle technology that could be rolled out very soon. Meanwhile the telecoms want car communications to travel over their networks on bandwidths used for cellular communications. Nic Fildes and Peter Campbell write:
Carmakers largely favour a short range technology using a dedicated band of spectrum or radio frequencies for car-to-car communication. This vehicle-to-vehicle system, or V2V, will be ready for operation once network equipment is built, which could be carried out relatively quickly.
This layer of technology would allow cars to drive much closer together on the roads, synchronising braking to avoid accidents.
The telecoms companies, in contrast, are backing an open, long-range cellular system, which allows cars to share the airwaves with mobile phone signals. This will take longer to develop than V2V as it will have to wait for 5G, the next generation of mobile technology that is not expected to be rolled out globally until 2020.
“It is like the race between VHS and Betamax,” says another person involved in the negotiations, referring to the battle over video technologies in the 1980s, which was eventually won by VHS as it established itself as the standard system for recording and broadcasting films and television series.
The dangers of a protracted battle over the type of technology that should be used for connecting cars risks slowing the development of autonomous vehicles.
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Jeremy Jones, CFA
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