Ford Plans to Use C-V2X on 5G, Skirting Towers, for Car Communications

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Ford this week committed to deploy cellular vehicle-to-everything technology — or C-V2X — in its new vehicle models in the U.S., beginning in 2022. The automaker intends to use the 5.9 GHz band, which could impact discussions at the FCC over the future of that spectrum set aside for Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC).

The DSRC technology allows vehicles to talk to each other to avoid collisions, but it hasn’t been widely deployed despite support from some automakers. That’s why calls within and outside the FCC are getting louder, to take a fresh look at whether auto safety communications and WiFi can share the same spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band.

WiFi advocates, as well as FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O’Rielly — say the sharing methodology is already outdated. Cable trade association NCTA is among those pushing the Commission to consider allocating the 5.9 GHz spectrum to unlicensed services like WiFi, Inside Towers reported. But the Intelligent Transportation Society of America says the FCC should continue testing of the shared spectrum, “before taking action that could potentially jeopardize safety.”

C-V2X is a wireless communication technology that can communicate with similarly equipped vehicles, people and traffic management infrastructure such as traffic lights, The net result is to relay important information and help make city mobility safer and less congested, says Don Butler, executive director of Ford’s connected vehicle platform. “Planned alongside the rapidly building 5G cellular network, C-V2X enables direct communication between the connected devices,” he writes. That means a signal doesn’t need to first travel to a cell tower, allowing vehicles to quickly send and receive information.

Butler writes the technology could help people navigate four-way stops by alerting each driver of who has the right-of-way. Cars involved in accidents could ping their status to those approaching of an impending road-block.

Ford’s move to deploy C-V2X builds on its prior commitment to equip every model released in the U.S. with conventional cell connectivity by the end of 2019. C-V2X could complement the driver-assist technologies of today and sensors used by the autonomous vehicles of the future, according to Butler.  Comments? Email Us.

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

January 9, 2019     

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