The Trump administration may have shelved a mandate to require that cars share their location, speed, and other information wirelessly. The technology could detect when another vehicle brakes suddenly or speeds around a blind corner to warn the driver or avoid a collision.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that officials had stopped pursuing a rule that would require all news cars to be equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communications, or V2V. The reversal would fit the Trump's hostility toward regulations but endanger technology that transportation officials have said could prevent or mitigate four out of every five accidents not involving drugs or alcohol.
The technology is based on dedicated short-range communications (D.S.R.C.) that enables cars to send messages to each other 10 times per second. It could be installed in traffic lights and stop signs, so that cars could leave alerts about slippery road conditions for vehicles out of its 1,000-foot range. It could be used in phones to give cars a map of pedestrians.
The proposed rule would require all new vehicles to be manufactured with V2V technology within four years, but with older cars still on the road, it would take years for the technology to make a significant impact. The Obama administration proposed the rule last December and expected a mandate to be released in 2019.
Without the mandate, it could take longer for V2V technology to catch on. In the meantime, other companies could move onto 5G communications to connect cars. The end of the mandate could also bolster cable companies lobbying to appropriate parts of the 5.9 GHz spectrum used by V2V technology.
The Associated Press report said that “decisions on the matter are being made at higher levels of the administration.” The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration denied that the rule is dead in a statement to technology news site ArsTechnica. The agency said it is still mulling over 460 public comments on the mandate.