The European Commission has sided with Volkswagen and its plans for a WiFi-based standard for internet connected cars dealing a serious blow to BMW, Qualcomm and others endorsing Wi-Fi over 5G.
The EU executive is currently trying to set benchmarks for internet connect cars and the issue has split the auto and tech industries with both sides lobbying fiercely for Wi-Fi or 5G.
Renault, Toyota, NXP, Autotalks and Kapsch TrafficCom all support Wi-Fi as the standard for connected cars while Daimler, Ford, PSA Group, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung have all backed 5G.
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5G presents a wider range of applications in entertainment, traffic data and general navigation since the standard hooks up to both cars and devices in the surrounding environment but the Commission has defended its stance on Wi-Fi since, unlike 5G, the technology is already available and would help boost road safety.
5G or Wi-Fi
Critics of the EU's connected car plans have said that a requirement that new technologies be modified to be compatible with older technology is unrealistic and would hamper innovation. 5GAA explained its views on the current situation, saying:
“The text, as currently proposed by the Commission, fails to ensure a level playing field between existing technologies ... by imposing discriminatory interoperability and compatibility requirements against newer technologies.”
Director general of the telecoms lobbying group ETNO, Lise Fuhr shot back with her own criticism over the EU's decision to choose Wi-Fi over 5G, saying:
“Europe cannot mandate only one technology for connected driving. Member states can now correct this by bringing 4G and 5G back into the picture: global competitiveness and safety are at stake.”
To overturn the proposal as it currently stands, opponents would require a blocking majority though the European Council has not yet released details as to when it will make its final decision.