There’s no question that spectrum is a valuable (and finite) resource. In the last ten years we’ve come to use it to watch movies, share photos and videos, and do a whole range of things wirelessly that we once could only dream of. Now, we’re going to be using the spectrum to save lives on our roads and in our cars.
The government is moving forward with a plan to use a specified band of spectrum (5.9 GHz, for those who are technically inclined) for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.
What’s that mean? It means vehicles will be able to talk to each other to avoid collisions, injuries, and fatalities. Say you’re approaching a blind intersection that looks clear, but there’s another car approaching that you can’t see – and that car isn’t slowing down fast enough to avoid hitting you. Your cars would be able to talk to each other, and warn drivers to apply the brakes and avoid the accident. And when combined with automated features, the car will be able to communicate and then take actions themselves.
That’s the future we see. But our vision could be clouded by a movement that’s underway to grab the safety spectrum for other uses – without a guarantee that the safety spectrum will be free from interference. If there’s interference, then advanced safety communications simply won’t work, the same way you can’t listen to a radio station from crackling that occurs due to interference. So we, along with 53 other groups, urged the federal government to keep moving forward with its plans.
You can read the letter here: Coalition Letter to President Obama
We, along with safety groups, universities, first responders, law enforcement and dozens of others think spectrum is a very valuable resource – but not more valuable than human lives.