EU could back Wi-Fi over 5G for connected cars

Supporters of 5G-powered connected car technology could be dealt a blow by the European Union which is set to approve and regulate a Wi-Fi based standard first.

The EU believes connected cars will make roads safer and vehicles more efficient but is concerned about the lack of cooperation within the industry.

It hopes that by creating a series of approved technical specifications for a particular technology will inspire confidence among consumers, manufacturers and other stakeholders such as insurance companies, encouraging connected car adoption.

Connected cars

However, draft proposals seen by Reuters indicate the EU is preparing to approve the Wi-Fi based ‘ITS-G5’ ahead of the 5G-based ‘C-V2X’. Mobile operators, equipment manufacturers and car markers are split between the two technologies, as are individual nations.

Volkswagen, Renault and NXP are among the supporters of ITS-G5, claiming it is better for time-critical communications such as crash avoidance and object navigation, while Ford, Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung are among those who back C-V2X. They argue that C-V2X supports a wider range of applications and is futureproof.

The debate is significant because the market for connected car technology and services is expected to be worth billions of pounds a year. Indeed, it was one the most promising applications for 5G and the US and China is expected to back cellular over Wi-Fi.

The proposals do include measures for the future approval of C-V2X, but this could take months to happen.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.