Big Step Forward for This Car Tech

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C-V2X Car Tech

Car makers including Ford, and suppliers including Harman and Panasonic, received approval last week to start placing C-V2X (cellular vehicle-to-everything) in cars.

The technology lets cars communicate with each other and with traffic lights, etc.  A car ahead of you will be able to signal that it’s stalled around a blind curve.  Cars may also be able to communicate with pedestrians and bicyclists, reports Reuters.

Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Harman and Panasonic were among the companies who received permission from the FCC last week to allow them to use C-V2X via a block of 5.9 GHz spectrum.

Once C-V2X is deployed by car makers, it is expected to become available in the 12 volt aftermarket.

The feature could start appearing in cars in 2026, given the three year time lag for new technology to enter an automobile, said Jeff Varick, CEO of Brandmotion, which has helped the Dept. of Transportation test V2X spectrum in the past.

“Eventually, it will be like a backup camera,” Varick said.   Backup cameras were mandated in new cars in 2018. “But they were talked about in 2008. That’s when we [the aftermarket] had that huge spike in demand.”

Similarly, Roger Lanctot, Director of Automotive Connected Mobility at TechInsights  said, “There are excellent aftermarket opportunities for C-V2X technology, especially since it will take time – many months or years – for it to make its way into millions of cars.”

C-V2X transceivers require an accurate antenna and so they are expected to be installed in cars, rather than simply used in smartphones, a Qualcomm spokesman told us a few years ago.

Recent infrastructure legislation has already earmarked money to deploy C-V2X, but Varick said that money is competing for other state projects such as repairing bridges.

What would really help push the technology is for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require C-V2X for a vehicle to receive a 5 star safety rating, Varick said. “That’s how a lot of new safety technology gets taken up in this country…OEMs all covet that 5 star rating and like to advertise it…” He said, “NHTSA hasn’t done anything and until they do, some car companies will not spend time on this.”

Many industry observers believe that at some point, V2X will gain traction because it can save lives and it is an aid to autonomous car features. And when it is implemented by the car companies, the aftermarket will follow suit because C-V2X must reach a critical mass in cars on the road for it to be effective.

Lanctot said, “Some opportunities may be regional in nature – but the focal point will likely be safety – collision avoidance in particular.  Of course, this likely means that fleet vehicles will have the most immediate relevance.”

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