Reports indicate that the Trump administration is scrapping the proposed vehicle-to-vehicle communication mandate for new cars. If true, the surprising move could significantly alter the development of "talking cars" and show just how extensively an administration with an anti-regulation zeal can stymie even industry-supported regulatory action.
Government technology mandates have a messy history. While early lifesaving measures forced carmakers to include safety belts and airbags, other mandates resulted in public backlash. As we explored in this episode of "Futurismo," if a mandate arrives before a technology is mature, it could turn into a disaster.
But the V2V mandate is different. Carmakers have spent a decade establishing protocols for dedicated short-range communications so competing-brand vehicles can talk to each other. Governments have started installing DSRC receivers on highways. The first V2V-enabled vehicles have hit the market.
At the close of 2016, a concerted effort from advocates of 5G cellular service who believe a DSRC-based mandate would be insufficient and hinder development of a more robust solution began gaining steam. What's more, a strident anti-regulatory president is in power. While connected cars may not be a hot-button political issue, the mandate's relevance to the big government vs. small government debate puts it in line with other regulations targeted by the administration, including fuel economy mandates and trade deals.
This development wouldn't stop the rollout of V2V technology in cars, but it would significantly complicate standardization across lineups. Connected-car advocates may have to take the battle directly to carmakers to encourage the adoption of this technology and hope that consumers catch on without the helping hand of Uncle Sam.
— Shiraz Ahmed