FCC and Automakers Clash – Adaptors Come Out on Top

V2X capabilities are still in testing and pilot phases in a number of cities across the United States, and conflicts between automakers and the government may keep it that way. The leading automaker patent holder in the Smart Cities: V2X sector, Toyota (240 patent assets) planned to implement V2X capabilities in all its vehicles by 2021 using dedicated short range communication (DSRC), but a 2020 rule change by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) caused the company to abandon its plan

The FCC shifted part of the 5.9 GHz band of radio waves reserved for V2X communications via DSRC to Wi-Fi to account for increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The problem with this shift is that the decade of research and development by technology communications companies and automakers became nearly useless. Without the DSRC infrastructure in place, the technology being built into cars would not work. 

Enter: Cellular V2X (C-V2X) that runs off LTE or 5G cellular networks. Ford, with 133 patent assets, has fully committed to C-V2X technology and deployed C-V2X vehicles in China, with plans to deploy in the U.S. in 2022.

While Toyota significantly leads Ford and other automakers with its large V2X patent portfolio, it seems to be lagging behind in implementation due to Ford’s early commitment to C-V2X technology. Significant work is still required to ensure the country’s wireless networks can handle a massive C-V2X rollout, so we can expect to stay in pilot programs for the next few years. Unfortunately, conflicts between automakers and the FCC won’t make things any easier.

Keep up with trends within the V2X using the Smart Cities:V2X Patent Forecast®.