CHARLOTTE--FCC officials are preparing for much-anticipated cognitive radio products being available during the next three years, a Motorola official said during the opening keynote address at the IWCE-MRT Wireless Summit.

“The FCC’s talking about [cognitive radio] product being available by 2010,” said Chuck Jackson, Motorola’s vice president and director of system operations.

An extension of software-defined radios, cognitive radios will feature transceivers that automatically detect unused spectrum and transmit signals over the available frequencies. Jackson said he was “surprised” upon hearing FCC officials’ belief that cognitive radios would be available this decade but supports the agency’s notion of testing the technology in the so-called “white spaces” between television channels.

“I think it’s a big step that cognitive radio is going into these TV bands to try it out and find out what the pitfalls are,” he said. “This is probably a good place to do it—if you interfere with reruns of Homer Simpson, it’s only a minor calamity.”

If developed and made available at affordable prices, cognitive radios promise to utilize spectrum much more efficiently than today, Jackson said. Ultimately, the technology could be “revolutionary,” making frequency coordination irrelevant and drastically altering the monetary value of licensed frequencies, he said.

“Thirty years from now, the whole idea of blocking out a piece of spectrum that’s yours could start to be foreign,” Jackson said.