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Car chatter under attack

Automotive News noted that a recent, industry-inspired push forward in vehicle-to-vehicle communications (“V2V”) is under attack.

An NHTSA rule proposed in December, many years in the making, would standardize V2V in a small band of wireless spectrum, for very short range communications. The rule governed how long data could be kept by each car, to preserve driver privacy; the low-strength radio signals prevented any central “Big Brother” from intercepting them.


V2V is seen as a safety, economy, and comfort feature, in that cars can warn each other of their status to prevent crashes; prevent unnecessary acceleration or braking; and avoid bad potholes.

Safety advocates and most automakers support the rules, developed with heavy industry involvement and partly at industry request. General Motors and Toyota have been heavily involved in V2V development — the first V2V car in the world is the 2017 Cadillac CTS.

Some automakers wrote they wanted more time, and more clarity on security.  BMW wrote that centralized cellular systems would be cheaper, as did an Israeli company which sends camera, GPS, and gyroscope data to their own cloud (this allows invasions of privacy not possible with the NHTSA system).   A cable-company lobbying group complained that they wanted the bandwidth for their own uses.

V2V technology is coming, one way or another; the question appears to be whether it will involve huge masses of data sitting on corporate or government servers, or whether the US will lead the world in a low-radio-strength, localized standard.

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