February 9, 2017–ITS America has released a 2017 policy road map that stresses the need to facilitate broadband deployment and spectrum sharing in the 5.9 gigahertz band “that preserves the safety and utility of” dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) systems. Policymakers should “[s]upport a technology-driven approach to spectrum sharing between Wi-Fi and DSRC that allows Wi-Fi use in the 5 GHz band, but in a way that preserves the safety and utility of DSRC without unduly burdening road users and transportation infrastructure operators,” according to the road map.
It also said that “broadband networks [should be part of] … any infrastructure legislation, including broadband funding for rural or otherwise hard-to-serve areas.” Government officials also should take steps to set the foundation for the deployment of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology, the plan says.
“Advance a Federal standard for passenger vehicle V2V and push USDOT guidance on V2I to ensure smooth deployment of Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) by addressing vehicle interoperability, security, and privacy. Advance same standards for trucks and buses,” it said. “Establish paths for upgrading V2V and V2X standards when next generation wireless systems, such as 5G, are deployed in telecom networks over the long term, addressing same issues as above.”
The road map also stresses the need to take steps to protect new technologies from cyber attacks. “Resist uncoordinated efforts by or requests for Federal agencies to impose disparate requirements, such as a recent petition for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) security and privacy in a way that conflicts with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) activity,” it said.
Policy-makers also should establish a framework for the deployment of automated vehicles and use technologies to address distracted driving. “Where necessary, establish industry guidelines for new types of driver interfaces, such as voice command systems,” it said.
“Advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, wireless communications and more make this a pivotal moment for U.S. leadership in the intelligent transportation arena,” said ITS America President and Chief Executive Officer Regina Hopper. “This roadmap provides Federal, State, and Local policymakers with the tools to capitalize on this innovation — from automated vehicles to highways and traffic lights that communicate in real time with drivers on the road. Now is the time to jumpstart the economy and save thousands of lives per year.”
Meanwhile, sharing of the 5.9 GHz band between DSRC and Wi-Fi operations was the subject of a panel discussion at an event yesterday afternoon organized by the Federal Communications Bar Association’s engineering and technical and wireless telecommunications committees.
The speakers discussed the merits of two proposals for sharing the 5850-5925 megahertz band. Under Cisco Systems, Inc.’s proposal, in which the two services would share the entire 75 MHz of the band, unlicensed devices would detect DSRC operations and vacate the spectrum. Under Qualcomm, Inc.’s rechannelization plan, DSRC safety-of-life applications would use the upper 30 MHz of the spectrum, while non-safety DSRC and Wi-Fi would share the rest. The first of three planned testing phases is currently underway at the FCC’s lab.
Representatives of Qualcomm and NCTA touted what they said are the benefits of rechannelization, while an attorney for the auto industry said that the industry believes the detect-and-vacate option is probably the best.
Erin McGrath, wireless, public safety, and international legal adviser to FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, said her boss believes that DSRC and Wi-Fi operations “can co-exist without DSRC experiencing interference,” but she added that he feels “that DSRC protection should only be provided for safety-of-life applications.” “They should be very narrowly defined,” she added, and not include activities such as toll paying, parking, and entertainment.
Ari Fitzgerald, counsel to the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers, said that the auto industry is willing to share the band as long as DSRC operations don’t experience interference. He noted that connected-vehicle applications have been allocated the spectrum on a primary basis and he said that the detect-and-vacate option is the only one that appears to satisfy the criteria of having protection and not stranding investment. DSRC proponents want to use all of the channels for safety-of-life applications, which means rechannelization wouldn’t work, he added. He also noted that the U.S. auto industry has begun DSRC deployment, with 2017 Cadillac models.
But John Kuzin, vice president and regulatory counsel for Qualcomm, and Paul Margie, counsel for NCTA, said that detect-and-vacate would not work because it would require Wi-Fi devices to repeatedly vacate the entire 75 MHz of spectrum even if DSRC operations were only on one channel. They said that the dedicated 30 MHz for DSRC under the rechannelization approach would ensure that safety-of-life applications are protected.
“If you look at any other band that we’re considering … you’re not going to find another band with as few incumbent problems. There definitely are challenges that we have to overcome here, but other than isolated, mostly pilot project deployments, we’ve got less deployment here – actual commercial devices – than in any other band that we’re talking about,” Mr. Margie said. “This is the best chance that we’ve got.”
“We cannot have harmful interference of safety-of-life services,” Mr. Margie said. But he also said that “sharing in name only is not sharing.”
“The detect-and-vacate is not about sharing. It’s a poison pill. Let’s be honest about it,” Mr. Margie argued. – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org