EU states reject WiFi plan for driverless cars

The European Commission has been forced into a U-turn after member states rejected plans to adopt a WiFi-based system for self-driving cars to communicate with each other.

The WiFi plan ran into resistance because of concerns it would mean 4G or 5G technology could not be used for driverless cars in the future because it would not be compatible.

A number of countries had initially backed the Wi-Fi system proposed by the commission because it could be implemented immediately and potentially improve road safety in the short term.

The commission proposed legislation backing WiFi in March, causing friction in the car and telecoms industry and setting EU politicians against one another. Telecoms companies and some countries including Finland argued that a “technology neutral” approach would be better, allowing the use of WiFi and 5G-based systems that could offer even bigger road safety benefits in the future.