Unlocking the full potential of autonomous transportation will require smart, forward-looking decisions about how to manage the spectrum on which driverless vehicles will rely. A recent announcement from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai shows the United States is preparing for a fully autonomous future. After months of debate, the FCC revealed next steps for re-allocating the 5.9 GHz band for both unlicensed uses and transportation-specific applications with an eye to autonomous fleet deployment.
In an effort to provide predictability for automakers and broadband providers, Chairman Pai announced that the FCC will vote this month on his proposal to initiate a process that would open up the 5.9 GHz spectrum band for new uses. By way of background, the agency first set aside spectrum in what is called the 5.9 GHz band to support transportation uses in 1999.