As part of its overall fight to curb road accidents and traffic jams, the European Commission has decided to reserve, across Europe, part of the radio spectrum for smart vehicle communications systems.
The new communications systems allow cars to wirelessly communicate to other cars and to the road infrastructure itself.
The 30MHz of spectrum has been reserved in the 5.9GHz frequency band and will be allocated within the next six months by national authorities across Europe.
A simple example illustrates where such systems would be useful. If sensors on a vehicle, for example, were to detect a slippery patch on a road, a car-to-car communication device could transmit the information to all cars in the vicinity.
Alternatively, if a traffic management centre needed to inform drivers about a sudden road closure, an alternative route to take or speed limits, it would be able to send the information to a transmitter along the road, which could then pass it on to the vehicles driving by.
Smart vehicle communication systems have the potential to make safer and ease the lives of Europe’s drivers. In 2006, more than 42,000 people died in road accidents in the European Union and more than 1.6 million people were injured.
The European Commission also intends to foster investment in smart vehicle communication systems by the automotive industry, at the same time spurring public funding in essential roadside infrastructure.