China’s plan to standardize the use of 5G for vehicles to talk to each other could lead to the U.S. falling behind in the commercialization of self-driving cars, according to Qualcomm Inc.
China will be “saving hundreds, if not thousands, of lives much sooner than we will as we fumble to determine which is the standard that is best for the long-term road map in the Western world,” Patrick Little, a Qualcomm senior vice president, said in an interview. “If we can get around a common standard, we can deploy it more quickly, save a lot of money and save a lot of time.”
Little’s comments are part of an effort by Qualcomm and more than 100 companies to push regulators worldwide to embrace a standard called C-V2X -- cellular vehicle-to-everything -- that will run on 5G. The technology would enable vehicles and infrastructure to beam real-time traffic data to one another and reduce accidents. Rival firms are lining up behind a Wi-Fi-based standards and pursuing a market for car electronics data transmission that IHS Markit estimates will grow to $9.2 billion by 2025.
While proponents of the Qualcomm-backed standard say it’s faster and more reliable, companies including top automotive chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV argue that an existing Wi-Fi-based technology called DSRC is good enough. Other backers of DSRC include General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Honda Motor Co.
“The big thing is, it is available, it is proven, it has millions of miles driven and tested,” NXP President Kurt Sievers said in an interview.