Europe votes against EU’s plan to use WiFi over 5G for connected cars

European nations voted against the EU’s executive proposal for a WiFi-based connected car standard in favour of 5G technology.

The EU wants to use the WiFi-based Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) standard, which is also backed by Volkswagen. Most of the rest of the industry disagreed with this perspective.

Naturally, the mobile industry lobbied the most in favour of a 5G-based alternative known as Cellular Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X). A consortium of mobile industry bodies – including the GSMA, 5GAA, GSA, and ETNO – wrote last month to express their view that excluding 5G from Europe’s connected vehicles would be a terrible idea.

Other backers for the 5G-based technology include Daimler, Ford, PSA Group, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, and Samsung.

A total of 21 countries – including those with large automotive industries like Germany, France, and Italy – voted against the EU’s proposal to use C-ITS. The European Commission defended its stance on the grounds that WiFi is available today more widely than 5G.

To maintain the illusion of a democratic process, the EU has a tendency to make tweaks and put it back to a vote until it gets its own way. How the EU will be able to do so on this matter is difficult to imagine, so it could be a rare defeat for the unaccountable commissioners.

Joe Barrett, President of GSA, said:

“The decision by EU Member States to reject the Delegated Act on C-ITS and request the European Commission to reconsider its scope is great news for technology neutrality and signals a positive future for connected intelligent transport systems in Europe.”

GSA, along with other leading mobile and automotive industry associations, believe the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems  (C-ITS) ecosystem should neither be limited by technology nor place Europe and mobile and automotive companies at a clear disadvantage to other regions of the world.”

This likely won’t be the end of the debate. Every decision in the cumbersome machine that is the EU has to go through many parliaments, committees, councils, and more. It’s a slow process to get everyone on the same page, and the EU will probably find itself still debating while the rest of the world has moved on to hover cars.

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