European Parliament opposes WiFi-based C-ITS as a car communication standard

The Transport Committee of the European Parliament has voted against the transit of the WiFi-based ITS-G5 desired by the European Commission. This is a system to make cars connected. The parliamentarians seem to prefer a 5G technology.

The Committee on Transport and Tourism has with sixteen votes in favour, eleven against and four abstentions voted for a recommendation, calling on the full, plenary European Parliament to vote against the European Commission’s plan to introduce 802.11p-based ITS-G5 as the main C-ITS standard for cars in Europe.

C-ITS is the name for systems that allow cars to communicate with road infrastructure and with each other, with the aim of improving road safety and efficiency. ITS-G5 is about communication at 5.9GHz. The Commission’s preference for ITS-G5 would give European manufacturers such as Renault and Volkswagen an advantage over, for example, Ford and the also European PSA. The latter includes Peugeot, Citroën and Opel. Just like telecom providers, Ford and PSA, among others, are in favor of the alternative C-V2X standard, which is based on 5g.

Finland has previously strongly criticized the European Commission’s proposal, because that plan would lead to a certain exclusion of 5G as a deployable C-ITS technology, Euractiv wrote. According to the country, the Commission’s specific plan means that only ITS-G5 can still be considered as C-ITS. Finland is not happy with this and believes that all technologies should be given a chance and that ‘technologically neutral measures’ should be chosen.

This Finnish critical attitude has won a majority in the Transport Committee. This committee is not pleased, among other things, with the fact that a clause has been included in the plans to make the new technologies backwards compatible. With that requirement, the European Commission would impose restrictions on the development of innovative C-ITS solutions in Europe, according to the Transport Commission.

Incidentally, there is some division in the European Commission, as Andrus Ansip, as Commissioner with the Digital Single Market portfolio, criticizes this compatibility with older systems. On the other hand, Violeta Bulc, the Transport Commissioner for the future of vehicle connectivity, is behind the original plan.

It will be voted on during a plenary session in the European Parliament on 17 April, where a majority must vote against to get the plan off the table. The Council, which concerns the Member States of the EU, also has a voice in this discussion.