EU countries vote against a standard WiFi-based car

On Thursday, the European Union countries paved the way for competitive technologies for Internet-connected machines, rejecting a European Commission push for a WiFi-based standard with Volkswagen’s support.

The result is a victory for BMW and Qualcomm that support a rival 5G telecoms system.

An EU official said that Germany, France and Italy, with powerful car industries, were among the 21 nations to vote against the EC proposal at a meeting of EU representatives in Brussels.

This was in contrast to EU lawmakers in April that adopted the 5G technology wifi plan. Automotive and technology industries are divided over what technology works best and is safer.

The European Commission, which wants to set standards for a market that could generate billions of euros in revenue for car manufacturers, telecommunications operators and equipment manufacturers, said wifi was available now, unlike 5G and would help road safety.

European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc in a statement Thursday after the vote. “We will continue to work together with member states to address their concerns and find a suitable path forward,”


Other wifi technology supporters, mainly connecting cars with other cars, include Renault, Toyota, NXP, Autotalks and Kapsch TrafficCom.

Meanwhile, the fifth generation (5G) supporters that will connect machines and devices to the surrounding environment include Daimler, Ford, PSA Group, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel and Samsung.

5G supporters say there is a wider range of applications in areas such as entertainment, traffic data, and navigation.

The vote was welcomed by the ETNO telecom lobbying group, whose members have spent billions investing in 5G.

ETNO Director Lise Fuhr said “Mobile Solutions and 5G are back on the road safety table. The automotive industry is now free to choose the best technology to protect road users and drivers.”

Supporter 5G 5GAA said the vote represented “a strong signal to the Commission that technology neutrality should prevail,” said Chief of Technology Maxime Flament.

“Only one area equals existing technologies will allow safer and more efficient movement on European roads.”

EU ministers will meet on July 8, when they are expected to officially reject the WiFi proposal./

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