Car-makers seek spectrum for hi-tech vehicles

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2015 Published on February 19, 2015

BL20_cartoon car.jpg   -  darikuss/

To support satellite-based systems that reduce accidents and fatalities

Car companies are pushing the Centre to open up a spectrum band that will enable them offer services to enhance passenger and pedestrian safety via satellite. These services will, for instance, help avoid collisions.

The Centre is expected to free up such frequencies in the near future, multiple sources from the government and the automobile industry told BusinessLine.

While the auto industry has requested freeing up (de-licensing) of such frequencies from the Department of Telecom, the Centre is said to be working on offering some bandwidth to the car industry.

Sources said the DoT has received two applications in the recent past — one in December and another on February 4 — asking for ‘de-licensing of radio frequency for automotive use’.

“We have received the applications and are working on them, as such a demand requires discussions with other ministries (Home and Road Transport & Highways). But, we will soon try and fulfil such a demand,” a senior DoT official said.

The official said that the DoT was ready to work on such issues with any industry that needed help to improve manufacturing quality and standards.

No auction required

Incidentally, such frequencies do not require auctioning, as in the case of telecom, since these are for public use and not for commercial gains. Though such frequencies (24.05 GHz to 81 GHz) are at a high bandwidth, they are safe to use. In the past, too, the DoT had de-licensed frequencies in the 1.50-200KHz (2009) band and 2.433-434 MHz (2012) band for immobiliser applications. It is because of such frequencies that cars today have safety alarms and keyless start options.

Enhanced safety

Auto companies say once the required frequencies are freed, safety would be enhanced. For example, a transmitter fitted in a car can alert the driver to apply emergency brakes and avoid a collision in case an object or a human appears suddenly.

Such technology can also help protect pedestrians and reduce fatalities. In 2014, there were around 1.4 lakh fatal road accidents in India.

“Such frequencies neither have the same power range (as the radio waves with the Defence Ministry) nor do they mix with frequencies at the Defence level. These are radio waves that can be harmonised for use in transmitters fitted in cars, which can help in sending signals between a car and a satellite,” an auto industry veteran said.

He said such standards are already prevalent in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.

India, too, can utilise such radio waves, especially in cars made here, to keep pace with global safety and quality standards.

“Many such cars are exported from India to the global markets without such equipment. If this bandwidth is made available, India can directly install receivers or transmitters and export the cars,” said another auto industry veteran, adding that in markets such as the US, such bandwidths have been in use since 1995.

Published on February 19, 2015
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