The Auto Industry’s VHS-or-Betamax Moment

It is a crucial technological choice: Cars are increasingly connected, and the autonomous vehicles that will arrive in the future must have a way to communicate with each other and surrounding infrastructure. But even before self-driving cars hit the streets en masse, there are enormous benefits to be had. Federal transportation officials estimate that, once widely deployed, such communication systems will prevent or mitigate up to 80 percent of all non-impaired collisions and address thousands of fatal crashes per year in the United States.

The auto industry is divided over the standards.

General Motors has embraced DSRC, and it’s already a standard safety feature on Cadillac CTS sedans. Toyota and Volkswagen have also committed to make DSRC systems standard equipment on new cars beginning next year. On the other side are brands, including Ford, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, that have joined the chip maker Qualcomm, cellular providers and others to form the 5G Automotive Association, which is pushing the C-V2X standard.