EU Rejects Wi-Fi-Based Car-to-Car Communications

Member nations of the European Union voted earlier today against endorsing a short-range wi-fi system for vehicle-to-vehicle communication, buoying backers of a cellular-based alternative.

But today’s vote also pushes back the timeline for adopting either option.

The European Commission had recommended the wi-fi system, called ITS-G5, earlier this year. The technology—also known as dedicated short-range communication—is designed to reduce crashes by enabling nearby cars to securely share time-sensitive data about location, direction and speed.

The ITS-G5 is backed by Autotalks, BMW, NXP, Renault and Volkswagen. Backers say their technology, which uses broadcast spectrum set aside 20 years ago specifically for V2V service, is tested, ready to implement and superior for enabling time-sensitive, crash-avoidance capabilities.

The alternative preferred by 21 of the EU’s 28 members is dubbed C-V2X. It would expand the capabilities of ITS-G5 by connecting cars with the internet via next-generation 5G cellular service. Backers say doing so would create huge markets for such features as real-time traffic reports, navigation and entertainment.

Those endorsing the C-V2X cellular system include Daimler, Deutsch Telekom, Ericsson, Ford, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Nissan and PSA.

But critics claim C-V2X isn’t as reliable as ITS-G5 for time-sensitive data. They also assert it will take years for cellular service providers to deploy the 5G network necessary to deliver the service in all locations.