Connected Car Rules Blocked In European Parliament Vote

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The European Commission’s proposal has fuelled opposition from network operators, who say it’s incompatible with Europe’s 5G rollout ambitions

A European Parliament committee has rejected proposed legislation on connected cars amidst a row over the connectivity technologies specified in the initiative.

The European Parliament’s transport and tourism committee rejected the controversial proposal ahead of a full European Parliament vote scheduled for next week.

The European Commission is trying to push through legislation coordinating regulatory frameworks around connected cars across the EU, with the aim of putting cars on the road that can connect to road infrastructure and directly to one another in a standardised way.

The technology and the legislative framework around it is, notably, intended to reduce road fatalities.

The European Parliament in Brussels. Image credit: European Parliament
European Parliament

Wi-Fi

But its approach has riled telecoms operators, which say the proposals favour current Wi-Fi based ITS-G5 connectivity over cellular approaches.

The issue is a particularly sensitive one for network operators, who are investing billions in 5G networks and are relying on connected cars to bring in a large number of customers early on.

Finland and Spain, both of which have major 5G commitments, are trying to ensure that the door to cellular technology remains open in the EU’s connected car legislation, and have been two of the main opponents to the EC’s current proposal.

On the other side, car makers including Volkswagen support the proposal and say there’s no need to make legal provisions for cellular-based technology that won’t come into use for years.

If MEPs reject the law, the issue will have to be revisited after European elections in May.

5G plans

Ahead of the vote the GSM Association said the proposal would hinder the development of 5G by prioritising the existing 802.11p Wi-Fi standard over the cellular C-V2X standard.

“The Delegated Act on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems… deals a blow to 5G rollout plans across Europe,” the body stated.

“As C-V2X is a key building block for future 5G networks and as connected cars are one of the most important 5G use cases, this decision to prioritise 802.11p will hinder 5G deployment.”

But transport commissioner Violeta Bulc wrote to members of the transport committee to underscore the importance of voting for the law, saying the Wi-Fi-based technology discussed in it is available today and that delaying connected car plans would mean more road deaths.

“Every day wasted waiting for the new technology will cost lives,” she said.

Finland and Spain both said they favoured a level playing field for Wi-Fi and cellular technologies.

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