Qualcomm and Audi teamed to test new automotive safety features powered by cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology running on 5.9GHz spectrum, despite an ongoing US regulatory debate about how the band should be allocated.

A pilot programme set to launch in Q3 in the US state of Virginia will test two new use cases: providing warning of roadworks; and providing information on the timing of traffic signals at major junctions. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute was tapped to provide software and other systems necessary to enable both services.

In a statement, Qualcomm explained the C-V2X technology will run on 20MHz of 5.9GHz spectrum and be based on 3GPP’s Release 14 and Release 15 specifications. However, it added there is a path to add more advanced C-V2X capabilities enabled by 5G once Release 16 is finalised.

The scheduled test comes as the Federal Communications Commission weighs redistribution of the 5.9GHz band, which was historically reserved for dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) systems.

In December 2019, the regulator advanced a proposal to allocate 45MHz of the band to Wi-Fi and 20MHz to C-V2X, and requested input on how a remaining 10MHz should be used.

However, the US Department of Transportation resisted, arguing the entire band should be reserved for vehicle safety applications.