NEW YORK—Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication (aka V2V) sometimes feels like the automotive world’s Duke Nukem Forever.
The idea of vehicles communicating with each other over short distances to warn drivers of potential obstacles or dangers is compelling.
But it may as well be vaporware. Nearly 20 years after the Federal Communications Commission allocated radio spectrum for it, we’re still waiting.
Today, it may be more than a decade before enough V2V-equipped cars are on our roads to make a difference.
But we might all be walking around with the solution in our pocket—smartphones.
At least, that’s the impression I walked away after a demo of Nexar’s technology one recent morning in Manhattan.
A V2V traffic jam?
Dedicated Short-range Radio Communications (DSRC) networks communicate with each other at ranges of up to 984 feet (300m), operating in a band around 5.9GHz.
And so the FCC set aside radio spectrum for V2V communications way back in 1999.
But it took another 11 years for a wireless protocol—802.11p—to get nailed down, finally happening in 2010.
From that point, it was another four years before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it was ready to start the rule-making process to get V2V approved for cars. NHTSA finally released a draft rule in December 2016, and we believe it to be a regulation that the current administration are keen to see implemented. Once on the books, it would give car makers two model years—plus a little extra leeway for older models—to make the technology standard across their fleets.
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