The U.S. regulator’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) will provide a long overdue political push for dedicated short range communications (DSRC) technology, otherwise known as IEEE 802.11p, to be installed in vehicles.
According to Lars Reger, Chief Technology Officer of NXP’s Automotive business unit, the DoT’s proposed rule sends a “strong signal” to the entire automotive community. “Without the legislation, it’s hard to kick start” V2V, he acknowledged. If just a few cars are equipped with V2V, the society as a whole – which wants safer roads – won’t benefit. For V2V to take effect, it needs the industry to come together and generate the network effect.
NXP, together with other DSRC-based V2V proponents, have been preaching that no other technologies now exists that can offer point-to-point communication with ultra-fast reaction time (within a few milliseconds).
While acknowledging DSRC detractors who have been pushing cellular technology for car-to-car talk, Reger said, “Sure, you can use cellular radio to let drivers know that there is a traffic jam 100 meters ahead. But that’s what we call telematics,” a call-and-response system that is far too slow.
Since Feb., 2014 when Secretary Anthony Foxx directed the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) to begin work on an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that was issued six months later, NXP was busy with “use cases” of V2V and demonstrating “which technology should be in use,” said Reger.
NXP would like to think, “We’ve earned trust, demonstrated systems that work [on various fields], we’ve developed industrial-grade silicon and it’s in volume production,” he said. More importantly, “this is not a monopoly. NXP isn’t alone. There are other companies also competing on the same DSRC market.”
In short, the DSRC community is arguing to politicians that it has the technology under control, with a host of companies to support it. “We are not trapping politicians” with an untested, undeliverable prospect, Reger explained.