Connected-cars plan can be modified to include other technologies, commissioners say

22 October 2018 11:40am

19 October 2018. By Cynthia Kroet and Matthew Newman.

Carmakers and telecom operators in favor of cellular-based technologies aren’t excluded from EU plans for a technical standard on how connected cars communicate with each other, top EU officials have said in a letter to businesses, seen by MLex.

“We are committed to an open and neutral approach towards standards, and to ensuring compatibility and interoperability,” the European commissioners for transport, Violeta Bulc, and for the digital economy, Mariya Gabriel, wrote to BMW and other companies in the lobby group 5G Automotive Association.

While the European Commission plans to press ahead with a standard based on WiFi technology, it will be open to amendment later on when other technologies such as 5G reach maturity, the letter says.

Policymakers are trying to create a framework for connected and automated transport in Europe. The commission has proposed a short-range wireless technology standard called ITS-G5 for vehicles to communicate with other devices, cars, road signs and integrated apps.

But several carmakers and telecom companies have come out in favor of a cellular-based technology, C-V2X, which they say offers both short-range communication to allow cars to communicate with each other, and long-range communication with existing cellular networks. This can later be upgraded to ultra-fast 5G technology, they say.

The commissioners’ response comes after chief executives including those of BMW, Daimler and Vodafone urged the EU executive in July not to exclude 5G technology from connected and automated vehicles’ communication standards.

And some EU governments including Finland, Sweden and Spain have called for a delay of the final approval of the new rules, MLex reported earlier this month. But last week, commission official Herald Ruijters said the executive would press ahead with the WiFi-based standard.

The new EU rules will take the form of secondary legislation known as a delegated act, meaning that it doesn't go through the normal legislative procedure. The commission plans to circulate the latest proposal to various departments next week, followed by a public consultation. The EU regulator plans to sign off on the definitive measure in the first three months of 2019, following a review by the European Parliament.

But it will remain open to new technologies including C-V2X, the commissioners say in their letter. It could be subject to “a revision as soon as technically mature and harmonized specifications are transmitted to the commission.”

CCPA Report