FCC empowers short-range radars in 60 GHz

FCC empowers short-range radars in 60 GHz for car sensors, healthcare, and emergency response technologies.

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2023 – The Federal Communications Commission today adopted new, more flexible rules for the 60 GHz spectrum band to support state-of-the-art radar technology. Many cutting-edge technologies rely on short-range radars to support important applications including alerting drivers to children left in dangerously hot cars, improving mobility and health outcomes by detecting hand gestures and respiratory functions, and assisting drones in construction, emergency rescue, and commercial settings. The new rules will accelerate the time for these devices to reach the marketplace for use by consumers and in commercial applications.

The new rules will provide opportunities for unlicensed field disturbance sensor (radar) devices to operate in the 60 GHz (57-71 GHz) band and foster the creation of innovative products and services while also ensuring coexistence with other users in the band. The 60 GHz band has long allowed important unlicensed operations by users of indoor/outdoor communication devices that support the WiGig standard and wireless local area networking devices.

The Report and Order adopted today by a vote of the full Commission expand the permissible uses for unlicensed mobile radar operations beyond the currently limited types of permissible uses. Prior to adopting these rules, the Commission had issued targeted waivers from the restrictive operations to permit operations such as the life-saving “hot car” monitors. The new rules will establish long-term, predictable guidelines to empower even more consumer-friendly and economy-driving innovations.

As with so many spectrum policy achievements, these new rules lean on compromises between interests and cross-industry cooperation agreements. The final rules draw heavily from agreements between parties that provide unlicensed communication devices in the band and the parties interested in developing unlicensed radars to support new applications. The FCC commends the industry on reaching a consensus on technical and operational guidelines that will allow continued innovation for both communication devices and radar applications in the 60 GHz band.

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