The next generation of cars just got a nod from the FCC to move forward as regulators have approved new airwaves for automobile radar devices. This could pave the way for more precise sensors at a lower cost.
It’s becoming increasingly common to utilize radar technology in cars today to assist drivers in staying in their lanes and alerting them to a possible collision with other drivers. Due to a recent FCC ruling, automakers are going to have more bandwidth to offer increased advancements in radar-assisted technology.
According to the FCC’s website, the amendment will “establish a flexible and streamlined regulatory framework for radar applications that will operate within 76-81 GHz band.”
Radar has been an important tool, according to the FCC’s 54-page report on the ruling, because it detects objects or people to determine their speed, range and direction, which can “facilitate a host of applications that are beneficial to the public … they can prevent or lessen the severity of a significant number of traffic accidents, saving lives and reducing property damage,” stated the report.
Could a driver-less future be even closer to reality? Radar applications play an important role in this futuristic idea, and the FCC’s ruling certainly propels the idea of a driver-less future forward.
In its ruling, the FCC decided to consolidate the two different radio spectrums these devices use into one, but they’ve also added extra bandwidth to vehicle radar. It allows the radar devices to use frequencies from 76 GHz to 81 GHz, bumping it up an extra four gigahertz. However, this also ends any technology that is designed for the 24 GHz range.
It’s been widely accepted for some time that higher frequency radar systems offer better performance due to the fact that they are simply more reliable and accurate. Newer radar technologies are bringing greater capability in distinguishing between objects. On top of that, the 77 to 81 GHz band allows manufacturers to produce smaller devices that can be used for all applications with no risk of mutual interference.
While this has positive implications for drivers, it is also an improvement for air travel. The FCC chairman said it will make air travel safer because it allows for the installation of radar devices on the tips of plane’s wings. The chairman said 25 percent of ground incidents are caused by wingtip collisions.
While the industry continues to expand into new, exciting areas, including stronger, lighter vehicles that are more fuel efficient and safer, the dream of a driver-less car continues to pick up speed.