Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Promising technology that aims to prevent cars from crashing would be "severely impaired" by interference from a WiFi hotspot, says Ford Motor Co., which is urging the Federal Communications Commission not to reallocate a chunk of radio spectrum reserved for vehicle safety.

Why it matters: Interference from a WiFi signal that might keep children occupied with video games in the back seat could potentially delay the delivery of a basic safety message to their parent's car at precisely the moment it's needed.

The big picture: In order to meet growing demand for WiFi service, the FCC wants to reallocate a portion of the 5.9 GHz band set aside in 1999 for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication.

  • Its proposal would take 45 of the 75 MHz frequencies of so-called "safety spectrum" for WiFi, leaving 30 MHz for connected cars.
  • That 30 MHz would be further divided between an older V2V technology called dedicated short range communication (DSRC) that a few automakers are using, and newer cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X), which Ford and others support.

What's happening: In comments filed Monday on the FCC's proposed rule-making, Ford included test results of real-world scenarios to argue against the spectrum-sharing.

  • Ford selected an accident-prone intersection in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then ran field and lab tests to show what effect a WiFi device operating on the contested frequencies would have on the car's ability to receive safety-critical messages.

What they found: WiFi interference caused an "unacceptable outage of critical basic safety message communications preventing the C-V2X system from performing as intended."

  • "The fact of the matter is there’s just a lot of leakage outside the bands they’re operating in," Don Butler, Ford's executive director for connected vehicles and services, told reporters.
  • Ford said the FCC should also ensure there's enough buffer in the spectrum to support future autonomous vehicles and to eventually transition to 5G technology.

Editor's note: This piece was clarified to reflect that all of the 5.9 GHz band is in use for auto safety.

Go deeper

13 hours ago - Health

15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,143,945 — Total deaths: 527,681 — Total recoveries — 6,004,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.
14 hours ago - Health

In photos: America celebrates July 4 during global pandemic

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The U.S. has already celebrated Easter, graduations and so much more during the coronavirus pandemic, and now it can add July 4 to the list.

The state of play: Axios' Stef Kight writes public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being canceled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.