Your Smartphone Might Cause a Wreck

Photo (cc) by andrewfhart

Wired writes the federal government has been working with automakers and safety groups on a wireless system that could eventually prevent car crashes.

The only problem: in a case of one hand not knowing what the other’s doing, the FCC is planning to make the wireless frequency destined for smarter cars for other Wi-Fi use instead. Their plan was to use it so the Internet will run more smoothly on congested network connections, such as airports, convention centers, and other public spaces.

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) is protesting the move, along with automakers, AAA, and many state departments of transportation. It was ITSA that convinced the FCC to set aside wireless spectrum for vehicle-to-vehicle communications in the first place, more than 10 years ago when far fewer people made use of wireless connections.

Another federal agency, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, is testing how a wirelessly connected car system would work. They’re using 3,000 vehicles to assess what the system would mean for traffic, infrastructure, and safety. The results could decide whether cars will soon adopt the technology.

ITSA president and CEO Scott Belcher told Wired, ““We’re talking about technology that can help reduce non-impaired vehicles crashes by over 80 percent. Do you really want to put that kind of safety at risk for unlicensed Wi-Fi applications? The answer has to be no.”

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