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EU Keeps Wi-Fi Standard Instead Of 5G For Connected Cars


The European Commission rolled out a new set of rules Wednesday governing smart transportation with the goal of accelerating the adoption of the technology across the continent, but the decision has already garnered criticism for not embracing 5G.


The Cooperative Intelligent Transport System, which would allow cars to communicate with the infrastructure around them and vice versa, adopted by the commission will use the same standards as Wi-Fi rather than the newer fifth generation of mobile services, also known as 5G.


“Today’s adoption is an important stage in enabling communication among vehicles,” the commission said. “The cooperative element … is expected to significantly improve road safety, traffic efficiency and comfort when driving, by helping the driver to make the right decisions and adapt to the traffic situation.”

Infrastructure will begin being deployed in 2019 to equip traffic signs, roads and cars with the technology to communicate with similarly equipped infrastructure nearby, the commission said. The technology can be used to warn drivers of traffic accidents ahead, road conditions and traffic light timing.


Global wireless trade group GSMA slammed the decision, saying the choice to go with a Wi-Fi-based system gets in the way of the commission’s own 5G  action plan, which calls for the European Union having almost full adoption of the latest generation of mobile communication by 2025.


“The commission has chosen to ignore technological innovation and choice, and instead stick with an outdated Wi-Fi technology for connected vehicles,” GSMA said in a statement.


The group urged the European Parliament and member states to reject the commission’s rules “that favor Wi-Fi technology to connect cars across Europe, and instead maintain flexibility to encourage the deployment of more advanced technologies, like Cellular-V2X connectivity.”


This newer technology, shorthand for cellular vehicle-to-everything, will be based on 5G. This emerging method is seen by some as the superior way for cars of the future to communicate. It allows properly equipped cars to communicate with everything around them from infrastructure to grids to pedestrians and other cars.

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