European Parliament committee rejects EC’s connected car proposal

A committee of members of the European Parliament (MEP) for transportation and tourism has rejected the European Commission’s (EC) proposal to use Wi-Fi standard 802.11p as the primary standard for connected cars in Europe.

The EC proposed approving ITS-G5, based on the Wi-Fi standard 802.11p, to help unite the automotive industry moving forward. While the automotive sector has embraced 5G, the Wi-Fi proposal counts carmakers Volkswagen and Renault among its backers. But other automotive companies are backing 5G for the standard, including BMW and Daimler, as well as mobile technology firms such as Huawei, Qualcomm, Ericsson and others.

The EC’s connected car Wi-Fi proposal drew criticism from mobile industry and technology groups. The GSMA blasted the Parliament last month in a statement, arguing that the adoption of a Wi-FI standard would “isolate [the EU] further in the global 5G race and severely harm 5G investment in Europe.”

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO), on the other hand, has pushed for Parliament to adopt a technology-neutral framework that could allow for future technologies to be used. “It appears that the current proposal on the table departs from the overarching principle of technology neutrality,” ETNO said in a statement.

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Dominique Riquet, vice chair of the Parliament’s committee for transportation and tourism, echoed those comments yesterday. Riguet urged MEPs to reject the EC’s proposal, noting that it stood in contradiction to the principle of a technology-neutral solution. He also pointed to the fact that no other country had adopted Wi-Fi as the technical standard for connected vehicles.

The committee sided with Riquet on the issue and rejected the proposal. The European Parliament is now scheduled to consider the legislation under a plenary debate next week.