Kelly Donohue Speaks at National Press Foundation Roundtable on Autonomous Vehicles

On Feb. 20, 2020, WBK Partner Kelly Donohue participated in a roundtable webinar at the National Press Foundation to speak about legal and policies issues surrounding connected and automated vehicle technologies.

Companies have been predicting for years that self-driving vehicles are just around the corner. But so far, it largely hasn’t happened. Instead, the self-driving dream has hit roadblock after roadblock:  sluggish efforts in Congress to provide a framework for rules and regulations; inertia at the Department of Transportation while awaiting that framework; and a squabble over connectivity for a product that will be the poster child for the internet of things.

Kelly Donohue, a lawyer at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, described an underreported aspect of AVs: the spectrum issue. The Federal Communications Commission 20 years ago set aside a band of 5.9 GHz spectrum to connect vehicles for applications like navigation, infotainment and roadside assistance. But advocates for AVs are lobbying the FCC to allocate more spectrum for so-called “cellular vehicle-to-everything” technology, shorthanded as C-V2X. China and the European Union are headed in this direction.