The Federal Communications Commission has voted to reexamine a 1999 decision to set aside the 5.9 GHz wireless band specifically for connected car technologies. Regulators want to allow other wireless devices to use the band in order to ease congestion at high-use areas like airports and convention centers. But automakers claim opening up the band now could jeopardize years of work on car-to-car communication. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group comprised of some 13 companies, has said the infant technology could be in danger if the federal government opens up the 5.9 GHz band now.
Automakers have been working to develop a system to allow cars on any given road to "talk" to each other to avoid accidents and reduce congestion, and developers fear allowing other devices to make use of the designated band could result in interference. But the FCC says that concern is overblown. Julius Genachowski, FCC chairman, says nearly every Wi-Fi band currently in use is also used by other services. Automakers will simply have to overcome that challenge just like other tech manufacturers.