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Pai Renews Call for Spectrum for C-V2X

Audi/Qualcomm project explores emerging standard in northern Virginia

connected car, Audi, C-V2X
An Audi marketing photo shows a dashboard C-V2X display.

Here’s an interesting spectrum project for those watching the connected car space.

It’s called C-V2X, for “Cellular Vehicle to Everything,” and a notable deployment was announced Wednesday by Audi, Qualcomm and the Virginia Department of Transportation. The deployment will include warnings to automatically alert cars to work zones ahead as well as signal phase and timing, or SPaT, which enables cars to receive a countdown from a red to a green light.

The FCC is among those watching with interest. Chairman Ajit Pai put out statement noting that the deployment was made possible through an experimental license. He used the opportunity to voice support for the idea of redesignating spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band.

[Read: A Peek at Tomorrow’s Car Radios]

“The cars and trucks of the future will use wireless spectrum and advanced technologies to keep us safer on the road,” Pai said. “Cellular Vehicle to Everything, or C-V2X, is a new and promising technology that is gaining momentum in the automotive industry as it enables communications between cars, infrastructure, cyclists, pedestrians and road workers.”

He said rules governing the 5.9 GHz band need to be updated because they are tied up by Dedicated Short-Range Communications, a technology he said was “authorized by the FCC more than 20 years ago that has never been widely deployed.”

The commission recently voted to take “a fresh and comprehensive look” at the 5.9 GHz band and to designate at least 20 megahertz for deployment of C-V2X, calling it an emerging standard for transportation applications.

“If this proposal is adopted, it would be a significant step forward for automotive safety, since there is currently no spectrum designated for C-V2X. Americans on the move would be the beneficiaries — but only if the FCC takes action and leaves the failed status quo behind,” Pai said.

The FCC also has proposed to designate 45 megahertz of that band for unlicensed uses like Wi-Fi. “This 45 megahertz sub-band can be combined with existing unlicensed spectrum to provide cutting-edge high-throughput broadband applications on channels up to 160 megahertz wide,” it wrote in December.

You can read the Audi announcement about the deployment in Virginia here.