Toyota emphasizes maturity, safety of DSRC

Toyota is standing firm when it comes to Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) systems, telling the FCC that DSRC represents the quickest way to begin realizing the safety benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.

The move comes as the cellular industry ramps up support for cellular-based V2V and V2I, or vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X). C-V2X is newer and has the backing of a lot of tech companies, but Toyota points to recent DSRC deployment announcements by not only itself but General Motors and Volkswagen as evidence that DSRC is moving forward after years of relatively little progress.

In late June, Toyota met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and Commissioner Brendan Carr’s legal adviser, and the Toyota representatives emphasized the company’s commitment to automotive safety, citing its industry leadership in making automatic emergency breaking and other active safety features standard on Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the U.S., according to an ex parte filing (PDF).

RELATED: FCC’s O’Rielly: 5.9 GHz band is ‘a mess’

The Toyota representatives said that potential alternatives to DSRC are not yet ready for deployment and they’re concerned that the safety benefits of V2V and V2I communication will not be fully realized if the market becomes fragmented into multiple, noninteroperable technologies.

Toyota announced in April that it would be deploying DSRC in Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in the U.S. starting in 2021, with a goal of adoption across most of its lineup by the mid-2020s. The company was the first automaker to sell and commercialize vehicles equipped with DSRC when it deployed the technology in Japan in 2015 and now counts more than 100,000 DSRC-equipped Toyota and Lexus vehicles on the road there as of March 2018.

RELATED: Sharing in 5.9 GHz band gets renewed focus, but automakers still hitched to DSRC

Volkswagen plans to deploy DSRC in Volkswagen Group vehicles in Europe starting in 2019. GM started deploying DSRC-enabled vehicles in the U.S. with its 2017 Cadillac CTS sedans.

Complicating matters for the car manufacturers are efforts to evaluate the 5.9 GHz band for possible sharing with new unlicensed operations.

NCTA – The Internet & Television Association met with Pai’s chief of staff last week (PDF) and noted its continued belief that no other band is better suited to address the need for more unlicensed midband spectrum than the 5.9 GHz band. It’s located right next to the existing U-NII-3 band and would enable the use of additional 160 MHz channels needed to support gigabit Wi-Fi.

NCTA representatives also said changes in the automotive technology market and the adjacent spectrum environment suggest the time is right for the commission to renew its efforts in the band and move forward to enable more efficient use of the 5.9 GHz band by unlicensed technologies.

RELATED: Qualcomm, Ford and Panasonic mark first U.S. C-V2X deployment in Colorado

Meanwhile, the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) is advocating for C-V2X; it has grown to more than 80 members and includes Audi, BMW Group, Daimler, Ericsson, Ford, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm.

Last month, Panasonic, Qualcomm and Ford announced a strategic collaboration to deploy C-V2X technologies in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is using both C-V2X and DSRC. A CDOT spokesperson told FierceWirelessTech that the state is technology agnostic when it comes to connected vehicles and just wants to reduce the rate of fatalities as quickly as possible.

According to Qualcomm, field test results have shown a significant range, reliability and performance advantage of C-V2X direct communications, with more than twice the range and improved reliability compared to 802.11p radio technology.