Connected cars found on public roads are only possible if there is support by the government. Apart from the technology which is currently built by automakers and technology companies, road infrastructure which is able to support the technology is also essential in making it a reality. That is why congress needs to think of it as a trillion dollar market.
The idea of connected cars is for cars to be able to communicate with other cars or other vehicles using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and for cars to be able to communicate with other infrastructure such as traffic light, road signage using vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology. All this communications need a spectrum as the media of transferring the information from one object to another object.
75 MHz of spectrum in the 5.9GHz band was allocated by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to automotive industry to improve public safety through intelligent transportation systems in 1999. In 2014, Senators Marco Rubio and Cory Booker introduced Senate legislation to open up this spectrum to non-automotive companies and users. There was no opposition from Association of Global Automakers and Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, however, the feasibility study of it is far from complete.
There are approximately over 30,000 fatalities happened on United States roads each year. With connected car technology which uses the spectrum, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) estimated about 80 percent of it could be eliminated. With two technologies, Intersection Movement Assist and Left Turn Assist, could eliminate about 1083 deaths and approximately 600,000 crashes yearly.
There are likely to be impacts on opening the spectrum to the pubic. Opening the spectrum can improve commerce; however, it might result in congestion in the spectrum. Restricting the spectrum usage could lead to safer environment. However, Congress should allow for further research before re-allocating connected car spectrum.