The Risks of Leaving Control to the Machines

The brave new world of 5G, IoT, M2M, and AI, as it is outlined by industry, transport politicians, and media, is like a wall-size painting that leaves the observer both wondering and insecure:

  • Driving licenses will become obsolete because nobody will actually drive a car anymore.
  • Parcel carriers won’t need to work for low wages anymore because parcel delivery by humans will have stopped entirely.
  • Long-distance truck drivers, who are separated from their families for months while driving all around Europe, will not be required any longer. There won’t be any truck drivers nor taxi drivers at all.
  • Digitally controlled assistants will enable a longer independent life in your own home when you’re old. As you won’t be nursed by humans, social contacts will become an exception.
  • Machines will learn to adapt quickly and autonomously to environmental conditions, thus maximizing their efficiency, life span, and quality. This relieves us as humans enormously because we will no longer need to control or monitor this process. However, we won’t be able to understand the machine-made decisions.

5G Pushes the Autonomy of Machines Massively

In the course of extensive machine networking under 5G and the application of AI, we humans will increasingly hand over decisions concerning processes in industry, nursing care, finance, and transportation to nonhuman beings. That’s why we must do everything to ensure at least the reliable functioning of the lifelines that keep these communication systems up and running.

To date, it was just annoying when you had to struggle with temporary disturbances in mobile data traffic. A brief glance at autonomous driving, however, shows clearly that the same disturbances might create life-threatening situations under 5G: The promised ultrashort reaction time of less than 1 ms does not help the passengers of an autonomously driven car at 120 km/h, if a short connection failure between (e)SIM and the 5G New Radio network results in a car driving in “blind flight” for 100 m or more.

The Vital Role of Proper 5G Communication

As the manufacturers of 5G-enabled sensors, actors, and other terminals cannot know for sure whether their products will be used for vital decision-making processes in the field, it will be inevitable to significantly increase the expenditures for testing of all relevant interfaces and protocols in the future. We must assure that all partners connected via mobile radio can communicate with each other without failure. This is achieved by applying the already tested means of securing interoperability to all terminals, modems, sensors, and (e)SIMs that are used in 5G.

Even if the higher requirements will be represented in the new testing standards and in the conformity guidelines by the Global Certification Forum (GCF) or PTCRB, passing the relevant tests will not relieve manufacturers from being held liable as contributors to possibly fatal accidents. It will be part of the individual company’s due diligence to test far beyond the defined standards.

Therefore, COMPRION, as a supplier of such test solutions, feels responsible for providing our customers with all necessary technical means and consulting services, most especially for the 5G ecosystem.