In April 2020, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) sought feedback on its plans to manage spectrum: the continuous range of electromagnetic radiation waves. The five-year spectrum outlook describes their priorities for the next five years and their detailed work plan for the coming year. In response, ITS Australia prepared the following submission.
ITS Australia sincerely appreciates the opportunity the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has provided to make a submission on this important and timely issue. As a peak body representing industry in the transport and technology sector we strongly support the important role the Authority plays in ensuring the vital resource of spectrum is managed effectively and responsibly.
With more than 1,200 people dying and over 30,000 people being seriously injured each year on Australia’s roads, the only long-term goal we can have is for zero fatal and serious injuries. To that end, we believe connected and cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems and automated vehicle technology are one of the key safety initiatives to achieving that ambitious goal. These potentially life-saving technologies though also come with additional challenges to consider.
Our transportation networks are national critical infrastructure and in an increasingly connected world will be heavily reliant on the communications spectrum as our vehicles and infrastructure become more sophisticated and interconnected.
IHS Markit are suggesting 90 percent of vehicles will be internet connected by 2023, and while the manufacture and sales of vehicles has been impacted negatively globally due to COVID 19 increasingly connected vehicles are the very near future.
Previous projections indicated more than 11.2 million light vehicles equipped with some form of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) system will be produced globally in 2024, representing 12 percent of new light vehicle fleet sales. It is expected that production of light vehicles equipped with V2X systems will be just under 15,000 units in 2019 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 277.5 percent in 2024. While these projections may be impacted by COVID 19 there are still potentially significant safety and congestion benefits from these vehicles, as well as the cooperative vehicles.
Telematics systems are a major factor in changing the automobile from a collection of analogue control systems to a fully networked and connected digital car, where software-defined functionality can be remotely changed, corrected and updated. Telematics systems also add connectivity-based applications that make the average vehicle safer and more fuel efficient, as well as help to correct common driver errors. As a result, telematics can bring many benefits to various parties including consumers, auto manufacturers, dealers, communities and more.
On the topic of C-ITS, while not specifically referenced in the 5-year spectrum outlook, there is acknowledgment of the determination made previously by the ACMA to dedicate the 5.9GhZ band to support ITS complying technologies.
ITS Australia strongly supports the ACMA’s continuing regulatory arrangements to promote the introduction of C-ITS in the 5.9 GHz band (5.855-5.925 GHz) in Australia and maintaining the Class License under section 132 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992, for C-ITS transceivers in vehicles, roadside infrastructure and carried by people. The class license will refer to the relevant European standard, ETSI Standard EN 302 571 V 2.1.1.
This spectrum allocation is extremely important for the future safety of our transport networks and the industries’ continued unimpeded access to this spectrum band is key to realising future safety benefits. Alignment with the European standards, including harmonising vehicles regulations, is a key consideration and equally supported by industry.
As a peak body that represents national and international organisations, we strongly support an approach that works towards harmonisation and cross-jurisdictional considerations and we are keen to be involved in these ongoing discussions.
The safety of our citizens is paramount and intelligent transport systems and related driver assistance technologies are clearly saving lives on our roads now. Emerging and future technologies through connected and cooperative systems will provide enhanced in-vehicle and network safety and efficiency. However, the deployment of these technologies relies on ongoing maintenance of the spectrum allocation for ITS enabling Australia motorists to enjoy the benefits of connected vehicles into the future.
Industry is keen to work with government to best deliver these life-saving technologies, and ITS Australia is well placed to facilitate these discussions. ITS Australia commends the Federal Government and the ACMA in continuing the important work of better understanding Australia’s communications challenges and engaging with industry and the community in the development of this strategy.
ITS Australia support a technologically agnostic approach yet there are potential interference issues between systems that may require more detailed investigation and technical expertise that the ACMA may benefit from industry engagement to better understand potential implications going forward.
In closing, we’d like to reiterate the importance of the 5.9GHz spectrum allocation, and for your consideration we have included the ITS Australia Statement on Connected and Automated Vehicles below and our report on the industry impacts from COVID 19 might also be of interest.