Toyota Hits the Brakes on Plan to Roll Out AI Car Technology

Toyota Hits the Brakes on Plan to Roll Out AI Car Technology

The company said on May 2 it was halting plans to install Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) technology on U.S. vehicles beginning in 2021.

Automakers have been divided in the United States over whether to proceed with the DSRC system or use a 4G- or 5G-based system.

Toyota announced plans in April 2018 to begin the installation of DSRC technology in 2021 ‘with the goal of adoption across most of its lineup by the mid-2020s.’

Automakers were allocated a section of spectrum for DSRC in the 5.9 GHz band in 1999, but it has essentially gone unused.

Some Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and cable company officials want to reallocate the spectrum for WiFi and other uses. Testing has gone on for years to see if the spectrum band can be shared.

Toyota said the decision announced on May 2 was based on ‘a range of factors, including the need for greater automotive industry commitment as well as federal government support to preserve the 5.9 GHz spectrum band for DSRC.’

The Japanese automaker added that it would ‘continue to re-evaluate the deployment environment’ but said it is still a strong backer of DSRC ‘because we believe it is the only proven and available technology for collision avoidance communication.’

DSRC transmissions enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications and broadcast precise vehicle information up to 10 times per second, including location, speed and acceleration.

General Motors Co backs DSRC and has installed the technology on a small number of Cadillac CTS sedans it has sold since 2017.

In December 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed to mandate DSRC in all new vehicles. The Trump administration has not acted on the proposal.

Last year, the acting head of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Heidi King, said the agency’s ‘past research has centered around DSRC – because that was the only technology available.

NHTSA Crash Test Ratings Will Be Expanded and Upgraded

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test ratings will be upgraded and expanded to allegedly make it more difficult to receive a five-star safety rating coveted by automakers and used to market the safety of new cars.

According to the NHTSA, the government wants to modernize the safety ratings program to keep pace with advancements in vehicle safety technology.

Safety advocates have long argued the government’s crash test program hasn’t kept pace with advancements in vehicle design even though NHTSA’s safety program has influenced countries across the world.

The New Car Assessment Program will allegedly be updated in 2020 to include new test procedures, upgrades to test dummies and to rate technologies related to the safety of pedestrians.

NHTSA’s current crash test ratings program typically awards new vehicles with overall four- or five-star safety ratings, making the buying choice more difficult for new car purchasers.

Making the tests more challenging and expanding the number of tested technologies should mean a more diverse rating system that provides consumers with safer vehicles.