Japan's Gov't Allocates 700MHz Band to Inter-Vehicle Communications System

Dec 6, 2007
Keisuke Ogawa, Nikkei Automotive Technology

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has decided to allocate the 700MHz band (about 10MHz between 715M-725MHz) to the "inter-vehicle communications system," which prevents cars from crashing by making them communicate via wireless networks.

The 700MHz band is currently being used for analog broadcasts. The band will, therefore, only become available for the inter-vehicle communications system from July 25, 2012, following the termination of analog TV broadcasts in July 2011.

Toward the introduction of this technology, the MIC is planning to begin preparatory experiments in fiscal 2007 and verification tests across Japan in fiscal 2008. When conducting verification tests, the MIC will pay attention not to cause radio interferences, using vacant bands near 700MHz and conducting tests outside of analog TV service areas, for example.

Behind the introduction of the inter-vehicle communications system is the "New IT Reform Strategy" that the Japanese government released in Jan 2006. In this strategy, Japan set up a target to "reduce the number of deaths from traffic accidents to less than 5,000 in 2012" and suggested the application of new technologies including inter-vehicle communications to realize the project.

Inter-vehicle communications are expected to contribute to a reduction in the number of accidents that take place when cars encounter each other.

The MIC decided to employ the 700MHz band, while considering applying the 5.8GHz band, which is currently allocated to road-to-vehicle communications, to inter-vehicle communications to fill up the time until 2012, but decided it was "too long to wait for the introduction of the technology" (MIC).

The 5.8GHz band is, however, a high frequency and therefore faces a challenge of limited communication area at places such as a corner, where radio communications are blocked with obstacles. Before implementing inter-vehicle communications using the 5.8GHz band, "We must examine the technology's usability in collaboration with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and automobile manufacturers," the MIC said.