Connected-Car Future Technology: Toyota Before Congress

Would you like your car to see around the corner to determine whether there’s a pedestrian or bicyclist in the road? Or perhaps it could notify you when an emergency vehicle is approaching?

This technology already exists and many car companies, including Toyota, are testing it for future implementation.

Using dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) technology, cars can communicate with each other and roadside infrastructure to notify drivers of potential hazards. Innovative technology like DSRC presents the next major opportunity to reduce injuries and fatalities from traffic accidents.

John Kenney, principal researcher at Toyota InfoTechnology Center in Silicon Valley addressed the opportunities and challenges associated with DSRC before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology November 13.

“Toyota recognizes and fully appreciates the need to find new and innovative ways to maximize the effective use of the limited spectrum that is available,” said Kenney who leads Toyota’s vehicular networking research team and represents Toyota before vehicle communication standards bodies in the United States and Europe. “We have been – and continue to be – generally supportive of efforts to open up more spectrum for unlicensed uses. We are not conceptually opposed to sharing the 5.9 GHz spectrum with unlicensed devices. However, we also believe that the creation of a sharing framework, or the implementation of sharing rules, should not occur unless and until a viable spectrum sharing technology is identified and testing verifies that there is no harmful interference.”

Kenney, speaking for Toyota, cautioned that interference could result in delayed or missed driver warnings, which will undermine the system’s entire foundation, rendering it essentially useless and putting the future of DSRC technology at risk.

“Toyota is committed to helping validate a technical sharing solution once one has been identified. But we’re not there yet and it’s going to take a bit more time to see if we can get there.”

In the same vein, Toyota will show at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show the Driver Awareness Research Vehicle, a vehicle aimed at finding an answer to the following question: what if we could reduce driver distraction before ever putting a key in the ignition?