Thanks to the efforts of the European Union and those lobbying on behalf of industry, the discussion about connected car technology has been reduced to a fallacious either-or debate.
In the blue corner, we have IEEE 802.11p, also known as ITS-G5, for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadside infrastructure communication. In the red corner, we have 3GPP cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X).
The European Commission landed the first blow, proposing to adopt ITS-G5 as the benchmark for short-range communications, and mandating that any critical connected car application from now until the end of time be backwards compatible with it.
There is a reasonable argument that, if enacted, the Commission’s proposal could have stifled innovation, limiting the capability of future connected car applications by forcing them to work with what will one day be yesterday’s technology.
To be absolutely clear, the proposal didn’t explicitly rule out the possibility of ever using alternatives like C-V2X.
That wasn’t good enough for the mobile industry and car makers backing C-V2X, who accused the EU of abandoning the principles of technology neutrality. Fortunately for them, the EU Parliament in April voted against the proposal. This week a committee of ambassadors sitting on the EU Council also rejected it.
It prompted a round of gleeful whooping and hollering from the telecoms industry.
“Mobile solutions and 5G are back in the road safety picture. The automotive industry is now free to choose the best technology to protect road users and drivers,” declared Lise Fuhr, director general of ETNO.
The GSMA took to Twitter to applaud the EU Council for rejecting legislation that “would have locked in ageing radio technology, making it more difficult for advanced cellular technologies” to enter the EU market.