Briefing: EU opts for 5G over wifi for driverless cars

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EU opens road to 5G connected cars in boost to BMW, Qualcomm – Reuters

What happened: European Union member states on Thursday rejected a European Commission push to adopt wifi technology for connected vehicles systems. The wifi-based standard was backed by automakers Volkswagen, Renault, and Toyota. Companies including Daimler, Ford, and Huawei support 5G standard, saying that the technology enables a wider range of in-vehicle and traffic management applications. The commission proposed legislation backing wifi in March, which was voted down last week by 21 countries including Germany, France, and Italy.

Why it’s important: The results are a triumph for tech giants including Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Huawei, who are among the eight founding members of the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), a global association across ICT and automotive industries for the development of intelligent cars. Global auto and tech industries have been split over whether wifi or 5G works better and is safer for the next generation of connected vehicles. Backers of the wifi-based standard say that unlike 5G, wifi is available now and can be deployed immediately to improve road safety. EU states are scheduled to meet on July 8 to formally reject the wifi proposal.