CAGW Submits Comments to FCC on Use of Unlicensed Spectrum for Autonomous Vehicles

For Immediate Release
Contact: Curtis Kalin 202-467-5318

October 17, 2018
 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week, urging the commission to expand its review of 6 GHz spectrum to allow greater unlicensed Wi-Fi use in the 5.9 GHz spectrum. 

The comments read, in part:

“In 1999, the Department of Transportation was given access to spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for the development of dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications.  Development of DSRC remained relatively stagnant until 2017, when General Motors deployed the technology in one vehicle model, the Cadillac CTS.  On April 16, 2018, Toyota announced that it would develop and deploy the technology in all its vehicles beginning in 2021.”

“Over the past two decades, autonomous innovations in the automotive industry have included lane-keeping support systems; blind spot information technology; LIDAR; highway traffic management; and automated parking.  According to the Auto Alliance, automobile manufacturers spend more than $100 billion each year on research and development worldwide and are actively working on new safety and V2V communications technologies.  These new technologies rely on sensors, cameras, and radar-based technologies to alert drivers to impending dangers and blind spots.  DSRC technology must be fully utilized in all vehicles (old and new) to be completely functional, rendering existing and future technologies that do not use DSRC useless or duplicative, even if they are more effective.”

“Certain segments of the automotive industry continue to apply pressure to preserve the 1999 allocation of spectrum for DSRC, even though it took 18 years for the first vehicle using DSRC to become available.  As Commissioner O’Rielly noted in his 2016 blog post, public safety is a primary concern when considering shared use of the 5.9 GHz spectrum.  However, it appears that the industry has little intention of using DSRC other than for location information, electronic tolling and financial applications, freight logistics and navigation.”

“We urge the commission to expand its evaluation and proposed rulemaking of the 6 GHz spectrum band to include spectrum in the 5.9 GHz range that would bridge the gap between the U-NII-3 band and the 6 GHz band for unlicensed Wi-Fi use, and work with the Department of Transportation to allow the FCC to determine future development of the 5.9 GHz spectrum band.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. 

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