Emerging Technologies in Transportation Casebook/Sharing of 5.9GHz Band

Summary

In 1999 the FCC set aside 75 megahertz of spectrum allocation in the 5.9 gigahertz band for the auto industry to begin testing and implementing vehicle-to-vehicle safety features using dedicated short range communications (DSRC). With V2V capability, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hopes to eliminate the majority of the more than 32,000 annual traffic fatalities.

NHTSA plans to move beyond individual car safety techniques and into what the MIT Technology Review calls one of the breakthrough technologies of 2015.[1] In an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ID NHTSA-2014-0022-0002), NHTSA has collected comments in regard to mandating the placement of wireless devices on all new light vehicles (passenger cars and pickup trucks) and is expected to issue a proposed rule soon. Wireless V2V communication would allow cars to “talk” to each other and exchange basic information such as location, speed, braking and steering functions. The cars can use the information to warn drivers of potential hazards before they happen. With advanced warning, NHTSA believes that many crashes could be either avoided all together or less severe when they occur. It is important to note that Connected Vehicle technology is simply intended to warn the driver of hazards. It would not be able to “take over” and provide any driving assistance, such as steering or braking. These actions would be left to the driver. No year is stated for the proposed mandate, but many sources believe it could be within the next few years.

Spectrum is a finite resource, and the 5.9 band currently set aside for V2V features is a particularly valuable section of spectrum, in that it has a wide enough band to allow for the deployment of gigabit Wi-Fi networks.[2] Recently, two FCC commissioners (Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O’Rielly), along with Senators Thune, Booker and Rubio of the Senate Finance committee have come out in support of sharing the 5.9 band between the auto industry and unlicensed users. The FCC will has a current framework in place to test various proposals—notably proposals by Qualcomm and Cisco—regarding sharing the 5.9 band while avoiding interference with the safety operations of V2V communications.[3]

Annotated List of Actors

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Tasked with the regulation of commercial spectrum bands.
  • US Department of Transportation (USDOT)
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):The safety arm of the DOT. Tasked with reducing traffic crashes and increasing safety on US roadways. NHTSA is

granted considerable authority in the pursuit of this goal, including setting and enforcing safety performance standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment.

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): Professional organization that also helps set standards in this space.
  • Qualcomm: Producer of chips and Wi-Fi capabilities. Has presented a competing proposal for how to best share spectrum space in the 5.9 band.
  • Cisco: Producer of chips and Wi-Fi capabilities. Has presented a competing proposal for how to best share spectrum space in the 5.9 band.
  • ITS America: Trade Association for the Auto Industry. Submitted the initial petition on behalf of car makers to reserve the 5.9 band for DSRC V2V services.
  • Car Manufacturers

Timeline of Events

1991: Congress passes the Intermodal Surface Transportation Safety Act which directs the Department of Transportation to begin looking at intelligent vehicle-highway systems.

1997: Department of Transportation concludes its researcher into intelligent vehicle-highway systems and conducts a demonstration of automated driving.

1997: ITS America files petition on behalf of auto manufactures to dedicate the 5.9 spectrum band for intelligent transportation systems and DSRC.

1998: Congress passes Transpiration Equity Act for the 21st Century which makes crash avoidance a national priority.

1999: The FCC first allocates the 5.9 band for DSRC.

2006: FCC refines allocation rules to “facilitate DSRC’s development as a platform for separate safety and non-safety applications.

2010: FCC releases the National Broadband Plan.

2012: First large scale testing of V2V mechanisms tested in Ann Arbor by the University of Michigan and the Department of Transportation.

Early 2013: FCC issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to permit sharing of 5.9 band with Wi-Fi devices.

Late 2013: IEEE forms a committee (Tiger Team) to study the feasibility sharing the 5.9 band.

August 2014: NHSTA announces advanced notice of proposed rulemaking “seeking comment on whether it should issue a mandate requiring V2V safety technology in all future passenger cars and light trucks.

2015: IEEE Tiger Team releases report without consensus policy recommendations that includes competing proposals from Cisco and Qualcomm.

August 2015: DOT releases DSRC – Unlicensed Device Test Plan to “understand the impacts of unlicensed devices operating in the DSRC band in order to provide recommendations through NTIA to the FCC.”

September 2015: In report to congress, GAO expresses skepticism in feasibility of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure deployment.

September 2015: Senators Booker, Rubio, and Thune (Senate Commerce Committee) send letter to FCC requesting that they take the lead in facilitating testing of proposals.

Maps of Locations

The broadband spectrum reserved for transportation consists of 75 megahertz from 5850 to 5925. It is a low latency frequency, meaning it travels quickly. This makes it ideal for V2V communications, where little time may exist between a warning and a crash. At 75 megahertz, it is also a very wide band. By contrast, Europe has reserved 30 megahertz of spectrum for transportation systems. Of that, only 20 would be for direct V2V communications. The rest would go other safety allocations.[4] USDOT is concerned that other devices operating within the spectrum could cause disruptions to V2V. Because of the limited time available between a warning and a crash, any disruption at all could negate the effectiveness of V2V.

Cear Identification of Policy Issues

Privacy: Frequently mentioned in the ANPRM comments section. Many drivers see it as government overreach and intrusion, especially as it has not been formally determined exactly what information would be shared between vehicles. Who owns the data emitted and collected by the V2V device, and who owns the device itself. Do vehicle owners have the right to disable V2V devices, and if they fail to function, is the vehicle owner responsible for replacement?

Consumer Acceptance: Many would be car-buyers in the ANPRM indicated they wouldn’t enjoy the added expense of another gadget on their vehicle. This argument brings to mind the early days of the NHTSA, when carmakers argued that seatbelts were an added expense their consumers didn’t want. If consumers did want them, they’d have to order them at an additional cost. Other opponents are concerned that it simply wouldn’t work very well, and could even contribute to crashes if it failed to work properly but drivers were dependent on it. An example of this could be a driver deciding to pass in a blind area because the V2V indicates no traffic is oncoming.

Liability: When connected vehicles are involved, who shares responsibility in the event of the crash? Could automakers or device makers be held liable?

Resolution of whether or not to allow unlicensed National Information Infrastructure devices. These are other consumer devices that would use bandwidth currently reserved for V2V. Many users feel the bandwidth granted for V2V is excessive. Not using it, or using it on a very limited basis is a huge opportunity cost for a nation increasingly dependent on wireless communications. USDOT realizes this but is concerned about disruptions in communications caused by other devices in the 5.9 band. These disruptions could cause fatalities if they cause a delay in vehicle communications.

Security: This includes V2V device certification issues, test procedures, performance requirements, and driver-vehicle interface issues, and the establishment of security and communications systems to support V2V. Opponents of V2V are concerned that it could act as a portal for hackers to gain access of a vehicle. Supporters note that automakers' current codes for onboard wireless systems such as On-Star have plenty of errors, are more easily breachable because they are long-range (not DSRC), and contain more valuable information. V2V, in its current state, would be mandated to be a standalone component not connected to other computer systems in the vehicle. If hackers were to hack into the V2V device, all they would have access to is the vehicle's Basic Safety Message (BSM), which would include information such as speed, positioning, and braking functions.[5]

Narrative of the Case

In 1999, the Federal Communications Commission allocated “75 megahertz of spectrum at 5.850-5.925 GHz to the mobile service for use by Dedicated Short Range Communications (“DSRC”) systems operating in the Intelligent Transportations System (“ITS”) radio service.” This spectrum was granted so the United States Department of Transportation could have an exclusive bandwidth for giving “connected vehicles” the opportunity to communicate with each other and the surrounding infrastructure wirelessly. This type of communication is referred to as V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) or V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the agency within the USDOT that focuses on traveler safety and accident reduction. Accident information must be known and reported in order to find out if safety measures are working, so NHTSA also collects and reports crash data. By their calculations, traffic accidents caused the deaths of over 32,000 people in 2014, and the injury of over 2.3 million more. The economic cost of these losses is estimated at $242 billion. Total costs, which include social costs such as quality of life, are upwards of $836 billion.

Most of NHTSA’s safety enhancements are meant to keep the driver from getting injured in the event of a crash. Seat belts, airbags, and other forms of transportation restraints are examples of this. Because of their efforts, driving is arguably safer than it has ever been, although crash statistics show there is still some element of danger. Now, in addition to making sure vehicles are prepared to keep their occupants safe during a crash, NHTSA hopes to enable vehicles to avoid crashing in the first place. Electronic Stability Control is one such mandate. Required on all vehicles by the end of 2011, electronic stability control is an addition to a vehicles braking system allowing each wheel to brake independently instead of in tandem with all of the others.

NHTSA is considering mandating V2V communications between vehicles, and issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ID NHTSA-2014-0022-0002) to collect comments from the auto industry and the public. Many media outlets expected a proposed rule by mid-2015, but nothing has been issued as of this writing. The rulemaking would be in the interest of preventing crashes. NHTSA estimates 81% of crashes involving two or more vehicles could have been avoided if V2V communications had been present in the vehicles involved.

V2V Functionality

V2V communication would take place on 5.9 GHz band. The DSRC systems would allow vehicles to communicate with each other and exchange basic information including vehicle speed, location, and acceleration or braking functions. As of yet, the connectivity would not be paired with any driving functions, and the vehicle would not be allowed offer any driving assistance based on information about other vehicles. In contrast to onboard sensors and cameras that are currently installed on vehicles for safety reasons, V2V’s advantage is that it can see around corners and beyond passing zones to warn of potential dangers. Many current onboard sensors require line of sight to function correctly.

V2V would have an effective range of about 300 meters, according to NHTSA. In many applications, V2V may be able to warn the driver before a crash situation is even visible. For example, V2V could detect an oncoming passing from the other side of a hill, or detect that a driver coming to a stop sign or signal was not applying his/her brakes. By knowing oncoming vehicle speeds, V2V could indicate when oncoming traffic is moving too fast for a driver to make a left hand turn.

V2V Testing in the United States

In 2012 the USDOT launched what its website calls the "largest-ever road test of connected vehicle crash avoidance technology." The test, called Safety Pilot, involved "installing connected vehicle technology in approximately 2,800 cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles and bicycles; deploying roadside equipment along 73 lane-miles of arterial streets and limited access highways; and equipping facilities to process the resulting data used to evaluate connected vehicle safety benefits and to support the U.S. DOT decision to proceed with the regulatory process to mandate connected vehicle safety equipment in light vehicles."[6]

As a result of the study, NHTSA published several conclusions as to the effectiveness of V2V communications. In addressing whether or not V2V communications would make vehicles safer, NHTSA wrote, "V2V devices installed in light vehicles as part of the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment were able to transmit and receive messages from one another, with a security management system providing trusted and secure communications among the vehicles during the Model Deployment. As tested in the Model Deployment, safety applications enabled by V2V, examples of which include IMA (intersection movement assist), FCW (forward collision warning), and LTA (left turn assist), have proven effective in mitigating or preventing potential crashes."[7]

NHTSA also provided estimated numbers of crashes avoided or minimized by V2V communications. " In terms of safety impacts, the agency estimates annually that just two of many possible V2V safety applications, IMA and LTA, would on an annual basis potentially prevent 25,000 to 592,000 crashes, save 49 to 1,083 lives, avoid 11,000 to 270,000 MAIS 1-5 injuries, and reduce 31,000 to 728,000 property-damage-only crashes by the time V2V technology had spread through the entire fleet."[8]

In addition to feasibility of V2V, the Safety Pilot identified policy concerns. The following issues were identified:

  • Resolution of whether or not to allow “Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure” devices.
  • V2V Device Certification Issues.
  • Test procedures, performance requirements, and driver-vehicle interface issues.
  • Standing up security and communications systems to support V2V.
  • Liability concerns from [auto] industry.
  • Privacy.
  • Consumer acceptance.[9]

V2V Functionality in Europe

The European Union’s Electronic Communication Committee (ECC) allocated spectrum along the band from 5855 to 5925 megahertz for the deployment of V2V safety services in 2008. This is very similar to the United States; however, the EU has distinguished between safety and non-safety services. Specifically, the EU has dedicated 30 megahertz to safety-specific V2V operations—two 10 megahertz channels are allocated for critical safety specific DSRC communications, and an additional 10 megahertz channel is allocated for non-critical safety uses. The remainder of this spectrum band (40 megahertz) is shared between unlicensed devices and non-safety related intelligent transportation services use.[10]

V2V Functionality in Japan

Japan has introduced vehicle communications but has concentrated more on V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) technology. A 2015 US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report states, "Japan implemented V2I through the deployment of the ITS Spot system. ITS Spot uses roadside equipment to collect and share data with vehicles in order to provide three basic services to drivers: dynamic route guidance, safe driving support, and electronic toll collection. Japan’s extensive V2I network includes roughly 55,000 pieces of V2I equipment on local roads and 1,600 pieces of V2I equipment on its approximately 11,000 kilometers of expressways."[11] Automaker Toyota was scheduled to have V2V and V2I communications offered on three models in Japan by the end of 2015. These vehicles would communicate on Japan’s standardized ITS frequency of 760 MHz.[12]

V2V Deployment

Deployment is essential to V2V success. Like vaccines, it is only effective if both of the vehicles that would presumably be in a crash have it. At the current rate of the United States fleet turnover, some estimates indicate that, from the point V2V is mandated, it could take up to 37 years before all vehicles were equipped with V2V. While NHTSA acknowledges this, it believes that some benefits would be seen within the first year of implementation. NHTSA estimates that added V2V communications to new cars would increase their price by about $320 per vehicle, although this price could decrease as technology becomes more affordable.[13] GM’s Cadillac division is slated to be the first vehicle to be sold with connected vehicle technology. Cadillacs are scheduled to be built with V2V in their 2017 models, the first of which would be produced in mid-2016.

To address the delay in deployment, NHTSA addresses the possibility of retrofitting older vehicles. Owners of older vehicles may be able to install aftermarket devices that would allow information to be sent and/or received. NHTSA even envisions a possible scenario where the vehicle owner could have a standalone, handheld device that would transmit basic information. Insurance companies, NHTSA says, may offer incentives for owners of older vehicles to do this.[14] The principle would be that if an older vehicle is "seen" by a newer one, the chances for accidents are reduced. One vehicle knowing the whereabouts of the other is better than neither knowing.

Another impedance of deployment of V2V is the USDOT and NHTSA's delayed decisions on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making. The ANPRM was issued in August 2014, and the 60 day comment period has been closed for over a year. NHTSA and the USDOT have yet to decide whether or not V2V should be mandated in new vehicles sold in the United States.

Potential Sharing of the 5.9 Band

According to the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, “real-time V2V safety application require at most three channels [of spectrum] (30 megahertz).”[15] Safety-specific functions of V2V include forward collision warning, electronic emergency break light, do not pass warning, left turn assist, intersection movement assist, bling spot & lane change warnings, and control loss warning. This leaves 45 megahertz of reserved spectrum available for non-safety-specific functions of V2V, including electronic tolling, electronic parking, traffic updates, traveler information and navigation, in-vehicle signage, environmental apps, and driver notifications. This has led to a push from the FCC, and many Wi-Fi advocacy groups, to explore the possibility of sharing the 5.9 band.

In late 2013, IEEE formed a commission to study the potential of sharing the 5.9 band while avoiding interference with the safety components of V2V. Although their report failed to achieve consensus on a policy direction, two competing yet feasible policy recommendations were put forward without opposition. The first, issued by Cisco, would create a detect-and-avoid scenario allowing Wi-Fi to function across the entire 5.9 band but shut off if a V2V communication was detected. The second, proposed by Qualcomm, pushed for a reorganization of the entire band, dedicating specific channels to V2V and opening the rest of the band for Wi-Fi use.[16] In September 2015, Senators Thune, Booker and Rubio of the Senate Commerce committee sent a letter to the FCC, requesting that it take the lead in conducting testing into these competing proposals to prove the feasibility of sharing the 5.9 band. Following that letter, and with the public support of FCC Commissioners Rosenworcel and O’Rielly, the FCC has set up a commission to do just that. The group is composed of nine stakeholder groups, and includes the auto industry (they did not participate in the IEEE commission). Commissioners Rosenworcel and O’Rielly have now turned their attention to expediting the study process.

Discussion Questions

Should the 5.9 band be shared between DSRC and Wi-Fi services?

Assuming both Cisco and QUALCOMM’s proposals are feasible, which proposal should the FCC adopt?

Is V2V communication required for future accident reduction services given the advancement of other safety mechanisms such as break assist, LIDAR, and Radar?

Should the full 5.9 band be reserved for automakers to include non-safety related wireless communications such as weather updates, turn-by-turn instructions, and traffic notifications?

Would V2V reduce crashes to the extent anticipated by NHTSA?

Would partial deployment of V2V technology have any benefit?

Would a retrofit of older vehicles be practical or possible?

Would V2V devices cause security breaches?

Would V2V implementation be expedited by retrofitting older vehicles?

Additional Reading

Michael Calabrese (2016). Spectrum Silos to Gigabit Wi-Fi, Sharing the 5.9 GHz ‘Car Band’: https://static.newamerica.org/attachments/12279-spectrum-silos-to-gigabit-wi-fi/OTI_5.9ghz_web.5de7495517f3416cae27fe811f0f985b.pdf

Harding, J., Powell, G., R., Yoon, R., Fikentscher, J., Doyle, C., Sade, D., Lukuc, M., Simons, J., & Wang, J. (2014, August). Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: Readiness of V2V technology for application. (Report No. DOT HS 812 014). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

USDOT. (n.d.). Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Technology Fact Sheet. Retrieved from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: file:///C:/Users/Peder/Downloads/V2V_Fact_Sheet_101414_v2a.pdf. This is a 4 page fact sheet that nicely summarizes the goals of V2V technology.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Knight, W. (2015). Breakthrough Technologies 2015. Retrieved from MIT Technology Review: http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/534981/car-to-car-communication/
  2. Michael Calabrese (2016). Spectrum Silos to Gigabit Wi-Fi, Sharing the 5.9 GHz ‘Car Band’: https://static.newamerica.org/attachments/12279-spectrum-silos-to-gigabit-wi-fi/OTI_5.9ghz_web.5de7495517f3416cae27fe811f0f985b.pdf
  3. O’Rielly & Rosenworcel (2015). Steering into the Future with More Wi-Fi by Sharing the Upper 5 GHz Band: https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/blog/2015/09/16/steering-future-more-wi-fi-sharing-upper-5-ghz-band
  4. Michael Calabrese (2016). Spectrum Silos to Gigabit Wi-Fi, Sharing the 5.9 GHz ‘Car Band’: https://static.newamerica.org/attachments/12279-spectrum-silos-to-gigabit-wi-fi/OTI_5.9ghz_web.5de7495517f3416cae27fe811f0f985b.pdf
  5. Harding, J., Powell, G., R., Yoon, R., Fikentscher, J., Doyle, C., Sade, D., Lukuc, M., Simons, J., & Wang, J. (2014, August). Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: Readiness of V2V technology for application. (Report No. DOT HS 812 014). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  6. Barbaresso, J., & Johnson, P. (2014, May). Connected Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Considerations: Lessons Learned from the Safety Pilot Model Deployment. Retrieved from USDOT: http://www.roadsbridges.com/sites/rb/files/Deployment_Considerations_report_06_02_2014_v1.pdf
  7. Harding, J., Powell, G., R., Yoon, R., Fikentscher, J., Doyle, C., Sade, D., Lukuc, M., Simons, J., & Wang, J. (2014, August). Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: Readiness of V2V technology for application. (Report No. DOT HS 812 014). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  8. Harding, J., Powell, G., R., Yoon, R., Fikentscher, J., Doyle, C., Sade, D., Lukuc, M., Simons, J., & Wang, J. (2014, August). Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: Readiness of V2V technology for application. (Report No. DOT HS 812 014). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  9. Harding, J., Powell, G., R., Yoon, R., Fikentscher, J., Doyle, C., Sade, D., Lukuc, M., Simons, J., & Wang, J. (2014, August). Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: Readiness of V2V technology for application. (Report No. DOT HS 812 014). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  10. Michael Calabrese (2016). Spectrum Silos to Gigabit Wi-Fi, Sharing the 5.9 GHz ‘Car Band’: https://static.newamerica.org/attachments/12279-spectrum-silos-to-gigabit-wi-fi/OTI_5.9ghz_web.5de7495517f3416cae27fe811f0f985b.pdf
  11. Intelligent Transporatation Systems: Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Technologies Expected to Offer Benefits, but Deployment Challenges Exist. (2015, September ). Retrieved from United States Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/672548.pdf
  12. Japan: Toyota to launch V2X Services by End of 2015. (2015, October 1). Retrieved from Safe Car News: http://safecarnews.com/japan-toyota-to-launch-v2x-services-by-end-of-2015_o614/
  13. Harding, J., Powell, G., R., Yoon, R., Fikentscher, J., Doyle, C., Sade, D., Lukuc, M., Simons, J., & Wang, J. (2014, August). Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: Readiness of V2V technology for application. (Report No. DOT HS 812 014). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  14. Harding, J., Powell, G., R., Yoon, R., Fikentscher, J., Doyle, C., Sade, D., Lukuc, M., Simons, J., & Wang, J. (2014, August). Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: Readiness of V2V technology for application. (Report No. DOT HS 812 014). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  15. Michael Calabrese (2016). Spectrum Silos to Gigabit Wi-Fi, Sharing the 5.9 GHz ‘Car Band’: https://static.newamerica.org/attachments/12279-spectrum-silos-to-gigabit-wi-fi/OTI_5.9ghz_web.5de7495517f3416cae27fe811f0f985b.pdf
  16. Michael Calabrese (2016). Spectrum Silos to Gigabit Wi-Fi, Sharing the 5.9 GHz ‘Car Band’: https://static.newamerica.org/attachments/12279-spectrum-silos-to-gigabit-wi-fi/OTI_5.9ghz_web.5de7495517f3416cae27fe811f0f985b.pdf