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Toyota VP testifies on future of connected vehicles

The US House of Representative’s Committee on Science, Space and Technology has heard about ‘connected vehicles’ and the role they will play in the future of surface transportation. Kristen Tabar, vice president of the technical administration planning office at the Toyota Technical Center (TTC), has been testifying before the Subcommittee on Research and Technology on the benefits and challenges that have emerged, as cars become more connected to each other and the world around them. “The automobile is currently undergoing a technological transformation that is reducing crashes, improving fuel efficiency, and bringing greater convenience and improved quality of life to drivers and passengers,” said Tabar “And much of the transformation to come will be based on increasing the level of connectivity in vehicles. We have no doubt that the technology will save lives, improve the environment, create jobs and help the USA maintain technical leadership in a field that will be an important contributor to economic growth in the future.”

Tabar said Toyota is leading the way to ensure the next generation of vehicle communication brings the highest levels of safety, quality, and convenience to consumers. However, she outlined several technical and policy challenges that Congress and the Federal government needed to address, including most notably, dedicated short-range communication (DSRC). Tabar said lawmakers should preserve and protect the short to medium-range wireless spectrum necessary for vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communication to function properly, which is being threatened by interference from unlicensed devices. “For the auto industry and those who have been involved in the development of this technology, the use of the spectrum allocated for V2V and V2I communication by unlicensed devices raises significant, and possibly insurmountable, concerns about the potential for harmful interference,” Tabar said.

She also noted that it would be unfortunate if the USA had to shut the door on V2I communication technology because of a lack of intelligent infrastructure investment. “Congress and US Department of Transportation should be looking at ways to incentivize or facilitate the build out of infrastructure to support V2I communication. Connected vehicles also raise security and privacy concerns. The truth is that the success of the technology is in large part dependent on public acceptance, and public acceptance requires that the network be adequately secure and that the privacy of drivers and passengers be preserved. The good news is that the connected vehicle system is being developed to support the security that is required and to minimize the potential for hacking,” Tabar concluded.

June 20, 2014

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