NHTSA Puts Collision-Avoidance Systems in Gear

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday it had decided to take steps to make vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology available in all new cars and trucks.

That is according to acting NHTSA administrator David Friedman.

Car manufacturers and cable operators already share the band with cable Wi-Fi, a growing MSO mobile broadband play, but car manufacturers are now getting serious about intelligent transportation services (ITS) collision avoidance systems.

“We welcome today's announcement and look forward to reviewing the data from the pilot vehicle-to-vehicle tests so that we can move forward in developing win-win solutions for spectrum sharing that enhance auto safety and allow the U.S. to remain at the forefront of next generation Wi-Fi technology," said the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in a statement.

Cable ops have been arguing that sharing will continue to be viable under the ramped-up ITS services, while car makers are concerned about interference to car communications.

Cisco agrees with cable ops that peaceful coexistence is possible.

"Not only does this mark the first use of radio technology that will make our driving experience safer, but it is also the first use of the Intelligent Transportation Service spectrum at 5.9 GHz that was set aside for these purposes nearly 15 years ago," said Mary Brown, director of spectrum policy, for Cisco.

"Just as important, this is a victory for IEEE 802.11 technology.  ITS radios utilize this (802.11) technology, creating a real opportunity for Wi-Fi sharing in the 5.9 GHz band, since the two technologies were born from the same standard."

"The FCC is continuing to conduct its analysis on whether sharing is technologically feasible. Cisco believes, given Wi-Fi’s ability to listen, detect, and avoid, that the band can be robustly utilized by ITS and Wi-Fi, while ensuring safety of drivers and passengers," said Brown.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.