Bainwol, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
are focused on vehicle safety as the so-called “connected” car
becomes more complicated. AM/FM and other forms of “radio” are
part of the discussion.
Bainwol, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance of
Automobile Manufacturers, recently testified before a hearing of the
Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee covering
advanced vehicle technology and its implications. The alliance is a
lobbying group for the auto industry and says its members account for
roughly three quarters of all vehicles sold in the U.S. each year.
include the BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., General
Motors Corp., Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi
Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America and Volvo Cars
are excerpts of Bainwol’s testimony.
phrase “connected car” has become a bit of a catchall and means
different things to different people.
some, connectivity in the car is about eliminating the gap in access
to people or information that occurs when commuting between point A
and point B. In our digital world today, drivers and their passengers
want to be seamlessly connected to the Web and all its functionality,
including social media, communications, music, navigation and a range
of transportation-related content. They want to be as connected in
the car as they are everywhere else.
others, connectivity in the car is about reducing the potential of
crashes by getting information on real-time risk factors outside the
vision of the driver — or the electronic eyes of the car. This
connectivity refers to the exchange of information either among
vehicles, called “V-to-V,” or information between vehicles and
infrastructure, commonly referred to as “V-to-I.”
believe five pillars of policy are central to maximizing safety
through technology in the future:
the spectrum: The first pillar is ensuring that the radio
frequency spectrum now dedicated to V-to-V and V-to-I, the 5.9 GHz
band, remains solely dedicated to auto communications technologies.
When vehicles are driving at highway speeds, communications must
occur virtually instantaneously, without delay and without
FCC is now considering whether to open this portion of the spectrum
for use by unlicensed wireless devices. While we understand the
potential benefits of expanding wireless access, regulators must be
certain that unlicensed users would not compromise the integrity of
this vital safety initiative. The FCC should maintain the spectrum
for safety critical systems until thorough testing is completed and
all parties are certain that the spectrum remains reliable and secure
for its primary V-to-V and V-to-I purpose, and can be shared without
in infrastructure: The second pillar is building out the
infrastructure for the V-to-I component of connectivity. Surely this
will be a gradual process, but we need the vision and motivation to
begin planning today. As is the case with a range of technologies,
such as alternative powertrains for environmental gains,
infrastructure investment is essential to achieving the maximum
safety benefit and inducing buyers to purchase the V-to-I
consumer acceptance: The third pillar is proactively addressing
consumer acceptance by addressing in advance of deployment potential
public concerns. If the advent of connected vehicle technology
exposes drivers and owners of equipped vehicles to loss of privacy,
security breaches and/or increased legal liability in the form of
automated law enforcement, we will not realize the many benefits that
might otherwise be gained by its widespread deployment. Similarly,
connected and automated vehicle systems entail interactive
technologies for which successful outcomes depend not only on
drivers’ correct response to alerts and information, but on
multiple entities in both the public and private sectors correctly
and consistently performing their respective portions of the
vehicle affordability: The fourth pillar is keeping cars and
light trucks as affordable as possible by leveraging market forces
and utilizing a data-driven approach to regulation if and when
needed. Today, the average age of a car is 11 years old, and we only
replace about 6 percent of the U.S. car park every year. Policies
that discourage the purchase of new technologies should be avoided.
technology neutrality: The fifth pillar is supporting a
comprehensive approach to in-vehicle technologies. Decisions made
today can produce dramatic repercussions tomorrow. We all recognize
the challenge of distracted driving and how that challenge has grown
as connectivity has found its way into cars, primarily through
smartphones. The recently issued National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration guidelines on distraction are a case in point.
this instance, government policy calls for restrictions in
functionality of in-vehicle systems without corresponding
functionality limitations in portable devices. As a result,
government policy will likely chill innovation and bias drivers
toward the use of handheld devices, rather than integrating devices
with in-vehicle systems.
if a driver looking for live NAV guidance is blocked from doing so
while his car is in motion, he may predictably pull out his
smartphone, fiddle with the keys while looking down, and retrieve the
desired mapping guidance. That’s the real world, and as much as we
might want to wish that away, a policy that isn’t comprehensive
across technologies and devices and responsive to consumer needs is a
policy that will produce unintended and undesirable consequences.
policy will recognize behavioral realities. We have studied
smartphone utilization in cars and found younger drivers are
especially resistant to abandoning connectivity while driving.
Attempts to modify behavior are unlikely to succeed. Rather, NHTSA
has it right when it says that the number one goal in distraction
policy should be to encourage drivers to connect their phones to the
built-in systems which can be controlled by voice and help drivers
keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
are living in an extraordinary moment in the history of mobility.
Over the next decade, automakers will put about a billion new cars on
the roads around the world — about 150 million of them in the U.S.
However, given the size of the in-use fleet and the longer life
cycles of today’s vehicles, roughly half of the cars that will be
on the road in 2025 have already been sold and put into service.
deployment throughout the fleet will be relatively gradual even
though technology improvements may be rapid. And that suggests that
the fleet mix of the in-use fleet will reflect a range of
driver-assist technologies and connectivity for years to come.
joined the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in 2001 after leading
the Recording Industry Association of America for eight years. Prior
to his recording industry career he worked on Capitol Hill for 25
years, including stints as chief of staff for two U.S. Senators, two
political committees and several Senate leadership offices. Contact
the Alliance at: www.autoalliance.org.