European Union member states have rejected European Commission plans to adopt WiFi as the technology standard for connected and autonomous cars.
The decision means that both Wi-Fi and 5G will be made available to enable the next generation of vehicles.
The European Commission had argued that Wi-Fi is available now, unlike 5G, and could potentially improve road safety in the short term. However, the proposal met with resistance over concerns that 4G and 5G technology could not be used for driverless cars in the future as it would not be compatible.
5G will connect both cars and devices in the surrounding environment, enabling a wider range of applications, while Wi-Fi technology primarily connects cars with other cars, Reuters explained.
A meeting of the EU’s Committee of Permanent Representatives rejected the WiFi standard after a number of states, including Germany, France and Italy, which have large car industries, turned against it. In the end, 21 countries voted against the proposal.
The Council of the European Union is now likely to ask the Commission to redraft the legislation and return it for another vote by the end of year, the Financial Times reported.
Mats Granryd, director-general of mobile operators’ trade body the GSMA, said that the existing proposal would have “locked in an ageing radio technology” at the expense of better 5G-based systems in the future.
Phillip Malloch, chairman of telecoms trade body ETNO, described the vote as “good news for road safety“, while ETNO director general Lise Fuhr said: “The automotive industry is now free to choose the best technology to protect road users and drivers.”
Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc promised to work with member states to address their concerns and find a way forward. “We cannot miss this opportunity and lose valuable time to make our roads safer,” she said.
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