FCC amends automobile radar system operations rules

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has eased its regulations covering automobile radar systems to support the development of improved vehicle collision avoidance systems and to increase driver safety.

In a Report and Order issued in July 2012, the Commission eased emissions limits for vehicular radars operating in the 76-77 GHz spectrum. The original emissions limits were set in 1995, and had never been modified to reflect more recent FCC research on maximum permissible human exposure to RF electromagnetic fields. The Commission also eliminated the requirement that vehicular radars decrease their level of power when a vehicle is not in motion. This restriction was originally intended to protect pedestrians in close proximity to a stopped vehicle.

In the same ruling, the Commission also modified its rules to allow fixed radar applications in the 76-77 GHz spectrum at airport locations. According to the Commission, such devices can be used to detect foreign objects on runways, and to monitor aircraft and service vehicle traffic.

The Commission’s actions were in response to petitions for rulemaking filed by Toyota Motor Corporation and Era System Corporation.

Read the complete text of the FCC Report and Order on automobile radar systems.