This is a photo of three vehicles driving from right to left on a highway.

Can’t we all just … agree to communicate in C-V2X Or DSRC?

More cars will become more connected in the future. That’s a fact.

Now, if we all could just agree on how to connect them. And by “we,” of course, I mean everybody, from car manufacturers to governments.

Just this week, the European Parliament’s plan to go forward with a WiFi-based system for vehicles to talk to each other hit a roadblock when critics said they favored a system that is based on cellular technology. Without an agreed-upon common technology, vehicles won’t be able to communicate about a range of issues, including obstacles up ahead, traffic jams, accidents, and so forth.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Ford recently announced the company’s plan to move forward with C-V2X, a Qualcomm-manufactured product, also known as cellular vehicle-to-everything, starting in calendar year 2022. In the future, C-V2X would operate on 5G, the much-anticipated technology that promises to change everything we do with radio signals.

However, the U.S. government has been working on a competing, Wifi-related technology since at least 2003. It’s called DSRC, or Dedicated Short Range Communications. So far, Toyota and GM have signaled (see what I did there?) they intend to use DSRC.

Cellular providers are involved in the push behind the C-V2X system.

Why is this important? Because in 2015, there were 24 million vehicles in the U.S. that were connected; by 2023, that’s expected to reach 72.5 million, according to IHS Markit.

Expect continued friction among all parties debating which technology should prevail. 

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