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Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Next-generation networks are expected to enable faster, more reliable data transmission and accelerate the deployment of better, safer autonomous vehicles. But a debate is raging over the right technology to achieve this vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity.

Why it matters: If cars can coordinate themselves at intersections and report on road hazards, accidents could start to become a thing of the past. But for the safety benefits to be comprehensive, vehicles will have to communicate in a standardized language.

Background: In 1999, the U.S. federal government set aside part of the communications spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for communication dedicated to improving vehicle safety.

  • As a result, certain automakers, as well as city and state administrations, began to implement Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) — essentially a version of WiFi — by installing in-vehicle communication devices and road side unit (RSU) infrastructure.

Where it stands: Until recently, DSRC was the only available V2X technology. But now that cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) — which takes advantage of improved cellular networks — has emerged as an alternative, the companies and cities that have already invested in DSRC are hesitant to abandon it despite the newer technology's speed advantages. And automakers want global consistency on a single solution.

  • Automakers that were early adopters of DSRC are on one side of the debate, while those that didn’t invest in DSRC are keen to exploit the advantages of C-V2X. 
  • Because C-V2X leverages cellular networks, it won’t require a massive deployment of the RSU’s necessary for DSRC. However, it remains largely untested at scale.

What to watch: Unless the U.S. government mandates DSRC (which it has been unwilling to do), many feel a cellular approach will be the winner. Europe is leaning toward DSRC but the progress of C-V2X in China may prove decisive.

Go deeper: Automaker policy teams alternately make the case for DSRC and for C-V2X.

Eric Jillard is head of automotive industry at the World Economic Forum.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.

The week markets went wild

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio

The markets just closed out a manic week.

Why it matters: Outsized — and in some cases historic — moves were evident across the board.