Intelligent Transportation Gets 802.11p

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The 802.11p protocol, which enables motor-vehicle communications, is due to come before the executive committee of the IEEE (agenda) in Portland, Ore. this week.

The IEEE 802.11p Task Group was established for Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE). The Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) is a general purpose communications link between the vehicle and the roadside (or between vehicles) using the 802.11p protocol. ABI estimates that this sort of vehicular communications could see initial expenditures of $1 billion shortly. ITS America stressed the need to support the adoption of a single nationwide standard in the FCC rules

The new 802.11p protocol, just months old, improves on the range and speed of transmission on the dedicated 5.9 GHz licensed band, promising around 1,000 feet and 6 Mbit/s in average use, say reports. The vehicular communications protocol is aimed at vehicles, such as toll collection, vehicle safety services, and commerce transactions via cars. The US government is pushing forward to cover the highways with access points that support this new type of extra-secure hotspots, that ride over 5.9 GHz.

Prototypes are under construction right now, says Lee Armstrong, chair of the 802.11p working group, of implementation of the protocol in chips. Meanwhile, he says, auto manufacturers are due to install chips initally in high-end vehicles in the 2007 or 2008 time frame.

Tracking the comings and goings of vehicles is bound to have privacy issues. DailyWireless asked one 802.11p representative about that. He said the solution that companies are offering is a legal framework that would prevent databases from being freely distributed. Humm….sounds like the MATRIX. Ubiquitous wireless networking will enable vehicle tracking even RF-ID interregation as you go.

A representative from Denso told DailyWireless yesterday, that 802.11p is a greenfield of potential. Denso has developed car navigation systems for Toyota and Mercedes.

Toyota plans an on-board G-BOOK terminal this fall. The automotive PDA will feature a Data Communications Module and a Secure Digital card, enabling customers to take advantage of the latest network services as easily as they would operate a car radio.

Fiat Auto and Microsoft today announced a long-term strategic automotive partnership to develop innovative telematics solutions for motorists. Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit has a Windows Automotive platform that includes Bluetooth, WiFi and 802.1x wireless technologies, with rich multimedia content delivery capabilities.

Of course there are a few bugs in the Connected Car. A Thai finance minister, for example, on his way to a meeting became trapped in his car when the onboard computer of his BMW malfunctioned, shutting down the engine, locking all the doors and windows, and sealing him and his driver inside. NPR tells the funny tale of the Win CE-equipped BMWi (ram).

Since this is a new frequency band and a new range of services, we thought 802.11p would be clear of political baggage. “Not entirely,” explained our expert.

Still, vehicular communications, with a fresh band (above) and new applications, is largely free of the bickering and block voting typified by the rolling 802.15.3a disaster. Motorola effectively prevented the IEEE from gaining a 75% majority in MultiBand Ultra Wideband so they could promote their first-to-market solution, claim many at the IEEE meeting.

This sort of block voting is supposed to be illegal. The IEEE gives “one man, one vote”. This results, Motorola competitors say, in loading the voting sessions to prevent an IEEE standard from developing around MultiBand Ultra Wideband. Motorola, one competitor grouses, “spent $50K sending employees and friends to vote for their “standard”. Now consumers will find their Motorola cell phones or Cable boxes using Ultra Wide Band won’t communicate with other UWB devices.

This sort of incompatibility and fragmentation is what the IEEE was supposed to prevent.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, July 15th, 2004 at 2:22 am .

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