The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released a report to Congress assessing the status of dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology and applications for short-range communications between vehicles and infrastructures. While the report found that DSRC is ready for deployment and emphasized that DSRC-based technologies offer a path to a "safer and more efficient" surface transportation system for America, it also revealed that the DOT is aiming to harmonize operational policies and voluntary industry standards to enhance capabilities even more to achieve global compatibility.
The DOT defines "DSRC" as a Wi-Fi derivative technology developed to meet specialized needs for secure, low latency, wireless mobile data communications. The technology has the proven ability to provide all of the critical attributes needed to support mobility and environmental applications, in addition to lifesaving safety-critical applications. DSRC supports connected vehicle safety applications, for example, and can be configured to enable real-time crash-avoidance alerts and warnings. The DOT reports that in this capacity, DSRC has the ability to transform transportation safety—with the potential to address 83 percent of light-vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers.
The recent report was intended to provide an assessment of the status of DSRC technology and applications, including known and potential gaps. A response to the Congressional requests for an assessment of the 5.9 Gigahertz (GHz) DSRC in accordance to requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the report describes a recommended implementation path, and covers opportunities to use commercially available communications for connected vehicle applications under specific circumstances.
The assessment found that there are no significant gaps in the DSRC technologies or applications, and detailed that the DOT will continue to work with industry partners and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to define and assess potential for interference in the 5.9 GHz band. The assessment supports the upcoming National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) V2V Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) V2I Guidance to Implementers.
The assessment also highlights the importance of international standards in the continued development of DSRC. The report reads:
"As DSRC-based technologies and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) applications are advancing in a similar manner in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Canada, USDOT is working to harmonize operational policies and voluntary industry standards to achieve global compatibility and to facilitate domestic access to international markets."
As the administrator and coordinator of the U.S. private-sector voluntary standardization system for more than 90 years, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) supports standardization efforts. ANSI has accredited a number of standards developing organizations that are working on intelligent transport systems, including IEEE and SAE International, whose standards were mentioned in the USDOT report.