Nokia CEO: We Have To Get Rid Of Net Neutrality, Otherwise Self-Driving Cars Will Keep On Crashing Into Each Other

from the not-just-packet-collisions dept

It would be an understatement to say that net neutrality has been in the news quite a lot recently. One of the supposed arguments against it is that requiring all data packets to be treated equally within a connection will prevent companies from offering us a cornucopia of “specialized services.” The main example cited is for medical applications — the implication being that if net neutrality is required, people are going to die. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress that is currently underway, Nokia’s CEO Rajeev Suri has come up with a novel variation on that theme, as reported by CNET (via @AdV007):

Suri emphasises that self-driving cars need to talk over wireless networks fast enough to make decisions with the split-second timing required on the roads. “You cannot prevent collisions if the data that can prevent them is still making its way through the network”, said Suri, discussing Nokia’s drive toward instantaneous low-latency communication across the network.

Yes, according to Suri, there are going to be terrible pile-ups on the roads unless we get rid of net neutrality. Leaving aside the fact that low-latency communications across the internet will come anyway — if there’s one thing that’s certain in the world of digital technology, it’s that everything gets faster and cheaper — there’s another problem with this argument.

Self-driving cars that are so reliant on such guaranteed, high-performance networks are hardly going to be very resilient in real-life situations — and certainly not the kind of system that the public will want to entrust with the lives of themselves and their families. If self-driving cars are to be widely accepted, one of their key features must be the ability to work safely even with the flakiest of internet connections. Suri’s attempt to use this emerging technology as a weapon against net neutrality instead undermines the argument for self-driving cars themselves.

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Comments on “Nokia CEO: We Have To Get Rid Of Net Neutrality, Otherwise Self-Driving Cars Will Keep On Crashing Into Each Other”

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105 Comments
That One Guysays:

Meanwhile, from dimension #253...

So I really want to know, what reality is he living in that a stable connection, all the time, and across large areas, is even remotely possible? Because it’s not this one, and it’s certainly not the US.

And the reason for this has nothing to do with preventing cable company fuckery or the lack thereof, and everything to do with the absolutely abominable improvements to the internet infrastructure in the US, caused by the cable companies preferring to just add the tax-breaks and government subsidies they receive to their yearly paychecks, rather than using it to build out, improve, and maintain the networks.

Machin Shinsays:

“Suri emphasises that self-driving cars need to talk over wireless networks fast enough to make decisions with the split-second timing required on the roads.”

If that is the case then I’m never setting foot in a self driven car. He seriously saying we would adopt a standard of self driving car that $20 and a trip to radio shack is enough to gridlock a city rendering all cars in an area useless?

art guerrillasays:

Re: Re:

i don’t know why i’m on a heinlein kick lately, but how about we forget about the vehicles, and make the roads roll ? ? ?
heinlein had a system of -what amounted to- giant moving walkways that stepped up in speed as you went from one to the other…
hell, no more hare-brained than a space elevator…

Machin Shinsays:

Re: Re:

Yes, that is how self driving cars should be. They need to be self contained and not rely on the internet.

In fact, if the computer that is driving the car is connected to the internet or has any wireless connectivity at all then I want nothing to do with it. System controlling the car should not be remote accessible.

On another side note. I think this whole self driving car thing is a prime example of looking at a problem backwards. Why are we trying to build automated cars to drive on a roadway that has been built entirely focused on giving ques to a human driver? Slight modifications to our road design would make building a self driving car trivial. Making a robot that can follow a line is something they teach in ‘Introduction to engineering’ classes. A few painted stripes and some new QR code type signs and suddenly building an automated car is a really simple task.

Michaelsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Why are we trying to build automated cars to drive on a roadway that has been built entirely focused on giving ques to a human driver?

While I agree that there should be some modifications to the existing roadways to make them more automated vehicles friendly, the current approach of making new things work with the current infrastructure makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary standpoint.

And unless you live in an area where those “few painted stripes” will never be covered by snow, water, ice, sand, other vehicles, or debris (or have to be painted on a dirt road), it is not as straightforward as you make it out to be.

Machin Shinsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, there are some drawbacks to my suggestion and one of those would be that there would be places that you would have to manually drive.

The question though is where these cars would be the most use. To me the answer would be interstates and in cities. These places tend to have better maintained roads. So sure you have to drive manually in some areas, but if you start with major roads you can move out.

Also, admittedly the lines would have issues of being obscured, but putting lines was just the easiest solution to implement. You could also use in ground wires sending a signal much like how dog underground fences work. There are lots of ideas for ways you could guide a car and ideally your system would use at least two systems that were independent of each other.

I for one also would have a really hard time trusting an automated car to deal well with snow and ice no matter what system you have to drive it.

naschsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I for one also would have a really hard time trusting an automated car to deal well with snow and ice no matter what system you have to drive it.

I have a hard time trusting humans to deal well with snow and ice. Within 10-15 years, if not less, robot cars will probably be much better at it than most of us are.

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

The concept of smart roads to enable driverless cars has been around for a long time — since at least the ’70s. The usual solution offered is to embed small radio transmitters into the pavement to follow (instead of painted lines). There have even been a number of pilot projects that demonstrated how well this works.

The reason we don’t have it is because any solution that requires modifications to existing roadways is a nonstarter. It’s simply far, far too expensive. So a driverless car will also have to be able to work on existing, unmodified roadways (or nobody will be willing to pay the premium to buy a car with this capability).

Machin Shinsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They would be if you made these modifications over time as the roadways were getting regular maintenance anyways. The focus being on modifying the interstates.

Imagine just driving onto the interstate hitting a button and kicking back till you get an alarm telling you your exit is coming up. As you get to the exit you take back control and start driving again, if you don’t take control the car parks to the side of the exit ramp. This would certainly make long drives much easier wouldn’t it?

jupiterkansassays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s completely impractical to make changes to our infrastructure to accommodate a technology that isn’t commonplace.

Luckily our current road system is already highly organized and planned out logically so that we can program vehicles to drive on them.

Once self-driving cars are everywhere though, it will be easy to restructure things for their benefit (and improved safety).

naschsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I agree with jupiterkansas. It will be much faster to figure out how to make a car that can drive itself on the roads we have now than to retrofit the roads to make it easy for the cars. Just the interstates are almost 50,000 miles, and I’m guessing most people do most of their driving off of interstates, which means the self-driving car would be mostly not self-driving.

Besides, we aren’t even spending enough money to maintain our roads; I don’t see the Republican Congress passing a huge spending bill to modernize them when we can let private companies upgrade cars on their own dime instead.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

They observe their surroundings and react on their own independently.

I would certainly hope so seeing as cars having cameras and/or sensors to warn you that you’re about to back into something are pretty common these days in newer cars, and I’ve seen plenty of ads for cars that are supposed to be smart enough to brake for you when you aren’t paying attention to what’s in front of you, or can’t see something behind you.

Not to mention the best internet connection in the world isn’t going to warn a car about the kid that just stepped out into the street in front of you, or the ladder lying in the middle of the highway.

JP Jonessays:

Re:

Actually, this may have an odd side benefit. If self-driving cars relied on wireless (terrible idea) and Stingray devices disrupt or delay wireless, wouldn’t these poorly designed cars make the Stingray spy devices a safety hazard? I mean, more than the already insane idea of having a car that relies on internet connection to self-drive?

Maybe they’d finally be banned, because safety! Nah, never mind…I’m sure they’d just say that the people who die in car crashes due to Stingrays were resisting arrest.

MrTroysays:

Re: Re:

Maybe they’d finally be banned, because safety! Nah, never mind…I’m sure they’d just say that the people who die in car crashes due to Stingrays were resisting arrest.
I’m pretty sure that guy was reaching for my gun. Not only is that in flagrant disregard for the road laws, I feared for my safety!

-Sgt Stingray

Anonymoussays:

dont buy or use self-driving vehicles would seem to me to be a much better option. the only reason they are coming is to make the manufacturers a load of money. they are not for the benefit of anyone else. accidents will still happen, some of which will result in human deaths. it would be a better choice to not make these cars and keep people at least using a small amount of their bodies and minds to make decisions. the biggest failure of the human race is going to be laziness. self-derive cars contribute a whole lot towards that

Anonymoussays:

Re:

Oh come off it. With the ability to sit in a pod and be driven to a new location people can get other work done. You might as well talk about how washing machines make people more lazy. I have no idea how I would get everything done in a day without a washing machine.

Not that I ever want a self driving car, I don’t even let my car shift the gears for me. Whereas washing things is a thankless task driving is so much fun… but I meet plenty of people on the road that should be forced into self driving cars.

Michaelsays:

Re: Re:

I was at 2% body fat until my new washing machine arrived.

At first, it dazzled me with it’s glorious white door and promise of a better world. I read the instructions with the eagerness of a toddler selecting a piece of candy. I put in my first article of clothing and watched as it magically cleaned it better than I could have by hand.

Slowly, it drew me in. The hours I used to spend washing my clothing on a washboard and then hanging them turned into hours sitting idle watching my machine do the tasks that were previously making me whole. I found myself sitting and starting at it.

I turned to food first. The time I spent washing my clothes could be wished away while eating a cupcake or a bag of pretzels. It was subtle at first, the slugishness of my walk, the heft of my legs, and then I found that this new machine was shrinking my clothes…

But they weren’t shrinking, I was getting larger. I noticed it months later when my belt would not fit anymore. It had never been in this infernal machine and it too was too small. The only solution was drinking – surely I could do better with alcohol than with food.

Today, I find myself jobless, drunk, and without any fitting clothes.

Thank you washing machine.

JP Jonessays:

Re: Re: Re:

I assume this is a joke, but…

The washing machine is probably one of the greatest economic inventions of the last 100 years, arguably more important than the internet or cell phones. Prior to the washing machine (and dryer) home care was literally an all-day job; women (and as this was the culture at the time, 99% of the time it was women) weren’t able to work because household chores required a ton of their time.

With the washing machine and associated equipment (including vacuum) suddenly women could much more easily enter the workplace. The societal and economic changes created by nearly doubling the potential workforce is arguably one of the biggest economic boosts of the past century. While communication technology is certainly impressive, the ability to communicate faster has not had the impact that the addition of dual-household incomes has had compared to the time before the technology.

Anyway, I’m assuming your thing was a joke, but something to think about.

PaulTsays:

Re:

“dont buy or use self-driving vehicles would seem to me to be a much better option”

Making that decision won’t stop people using desperate arguments to remove net neutrality, this is just the latest in a slew of bad arguments and analogies to try and get people to oppose something that benefits them.

“the only reason they are coming is to make the manufacturers a load of money”

So, you’ve ignored all the reasons why people want them? OK, then…

“the biggest failure of the human race is going to be laziness. self-derive cars contribute a whole lot towards that”

As does ignorant anonymous commenting on the internet.

jupiterkansassays:

Re:

Self-driving cars have the potential to greatly reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Auto accidents are currently the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. There is a lot of room to improve those statistics and self-driving cars are the way to do it.

All of these people screaming “I won’t let a computer drive me” need to get over it. Cars are already filled with computers and they’re safer than they’ve ever been. Self-driving cars will never become roadworthy unless they’re proven to be substantially safer than human drivers. It has nothing to do with laziness. It’s about saving lives.

Anonymoussays:

802.11p

“Suri emphasises that self-driving cars need to talk over wireless networks fast enough to make decisions with the split-second timing required on the roads.”

Which is why these fast wireless networks are completely separate from the Internet. Net neutrality on the Internet plays no role here.

On the other hand, net neutrality within these dedicated networks is important: you don’t want your car’s network requests to get stuck in a “slow lane” just because your car is a Tesla and the road is in a state which has a dispute with Tesla.

The use of dedicated networks for safety-relevant purposes is common. In rail, there’s GSM-R. Ships have maritime VHF radio, with a pair of channels dedicated to AIS. Airplanes have their own separate set of radio frequencies. Most countries dedicate yet another set of radio frequencies to police and firefighters. And so on.

aldestrawksays:

His argument makes no sense at all. Firstly, even if a wireless network is used to connect components on a self-driving car, it’s going to be a LAN an not dependent upon any traffic in the Internet. It would be insane to design such a system otherwise. Even with high-bandwidth connections there are always occasional delays due to congestion and outages. There is absolutely no reason that I can see that makes the basic operation of a driverless-car, in particular, the crash avoidance sub-system, dependent upon traffic through the Internet. Perhaps, it gets information on traffic conditions and a 5 second delay makes it miss that last second decision to exit and you get stuck in traffic.
Boo hoo, net neutrality made my driverless car 12 minutes later than I had to be. What am I going to do sitting here in traffic. Watch TV, call on the phone, text my friends, read a book, write a diatribe about how evil net neutrality is?

scotts13says:

Re: Wait a second

They’re having Samsung use their TV technology in the cars. Commands are sent, unencrypted, to a third-party site to be parsed, then sent back to the car for execution. What could go wrong? Saves several dollars per car, and there’s that huge advertising revenue stream:

“Gee, we should stop at Aunt Sally’s on the way!” And your screen lights up with a list of stores between here and there that sell gifts Sally would like…

Anonymoussays:

1 problem 1 facepalm

Problem: if they NEED the internet then how long till someone hacks them? Need for Speed in real life might be fun for the player but not so much for the passenger. Even if it is just a LAN with the closest cars it sounds like a very very bad idea.

Facepalm: games have pings of 20-30ms (in Europe, with NN) which allows for split-second decisions. Besides if your system can’t handle a bit of lag you might not want to use it in the first place.

Anonymoussays:

This topic reminds me of Cory Doctorow’s novella Human Readable, about traffic management networks based on ant colony organization, which are efficient (until they crash). Good read.

In the topic specifically, the car manufacturer/programmer would get sued out of existence if they didn’t program their cars to fail gracefully with a non-networked mode as a backup in lieu of crashing in a fiery death. My smartphone doesn’t self destruct without a signal and my GPS device has a simulated mode in case it can’t find a satellite.

TasMotsays:

Stretching Net Neurtality to mean nothing

Actually, if we take his (really stupid) premise that self-driving cars need an Internet connection to work. It will definitely need Net Neutrality to work. Net Neutrality says that all traffic is created equal. As in all VOIP traffic is treated equal and all video traffic is treated equal and all ad traffic is treated equal. NOBODY (except advertisers maybe) want ad traffic prioritized above VOIP traffic. But EVERYBODY wants VOIP traffic prioritized above streaming movies so that phone calls work.
If somebody was stupid enough to make a car rely on an Internet connection ALL Internet CAR CONTROL traffic should have equal priority. Which you would want to have a higher profile than advertising traffic. That is what Net Neutrality is about. What we don’t want is to have say GM car control network traffic prioritized above Toyota car control network traffic.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Stretching Net Neurtality to mean nothing

That CEO is either daft or willingly disingenous.
If two cars are close enough to warrant communicating relative position telemetry to each other, why does it have to pass thru some internet server? When communicating on the scale of several yards, what’s the bloody point of passing thru a server miles away?

Rich Kulawiecsays:

Dateline: April 12, 2127

Rajeev — now inhabiting his third Kurzweil — was ushered in and bowed before the Emperor, as was the custom. Scarcely had he finished when the pointed question rang down from the throne: “Why are there delays in my downloads?”

He stammered and began to answer, “Majesty, because the cars…the cars depend on the neutra–“

But his response was summarily cut off by the attending member of the Guild — always present, always listening, always powerful — who shouted “THE PORN MUST FLOW!”

Anonymoussays:

Hacking cars

If a self driving car requires a fast connection to the Internet at all times, I don’t think I want to ride it, no matter how fast and reliable and all over the place an Internet connection is.

What’s to stop someone from hacking your self driving car by sending faulty/junk data over the Internet connection?

I’d much rather a car use cameras and other sensors to drive, and only use the Internet to figure out which route to take to get to a destination.

Violynnesays:

You cannot prevent collisions if the data that can prevent them is still making its way through the network.
Then the following ISPs should NOT be used for self-driving cars’ WiFi systems:
-AT&T
-Verizon
-Comcast
-CenturyLink
-Fronti…

… you know, it’ll just be easier to say “Do NOT use any WiFi service offered by ISPs in the United States.”

Better safe than sorry, because you can bet I sure as hell wouldn’t want a company throttling traffic because cars take up too much bandwidth without paying for it.

Spaceman Spiffsays:

He's an idiot

“Nokia’s CEO Rajeev Suri has come up with a novel variation on that theme, as reported by CNET (via @AdV007):

Suri emphasises that self-driving cars need to talk over wireless networks fast enough to make decisions with the split-second timing required on the roads. “You cannot prevent collisions if the data that can prevent them is still making its way through the network”, said Suri, discussing Nokia’s drive toward instantaneous low-latency communication across the network.”

Anyone with any knowledge of real-time systems would say that this idiot should not be in charge of a company like Nokia if they really want to develop a self-driving car! I’m sure Google is not so brain-dead! To do this sort of work, you need an adaptive real-time system that has no dependency upon non-deterministic networks. It may use them for general traffic information, but not for safety-critical operations.

Anonymoussays:

If my pacemaker starts to malfunction and kills me as soon as it looses cellular signal. I don’t want that pacemaker installed in my body. Implanting medial equipment that kills the patient as soon as wifi signals are lost, is incredibly stupid technology.

What if the cellular tower in my neighborhood as a power outage. Oops, you’re dead. Sorry, but it happens. Or some kind of coronal mass ejection from the sun happens and jams all the radio waves on earth. The whole medical equipment should be exempt from net neutrality argument is stupid.

Whoeversays:

Implies deep packet inspection

All these people who claim that net neutrality will cause xzy to fail are implying that ISPs will do deep packet inspection and prioritize based on content.

Medical data? How do you tell the difference between urgent medical data and someone’s casual browsing? Deep packet inspection. HIPAA? Yeah, we don’t care about that.

Self-driving cars? How to tell the difference between the car’s navigation system and the occupant’s casual browsing? Deep packet inspection. Better not be sending emails that the NSA would like to read.

All of the scenarios where net neutrality are a problem rely on a faulty assumption that the ISP really knows what’s in the packets.

All of these scenarios where net neutrality are a problem rely on a faulty assumption that ISPs would prioritize for reasons other than anti-competitive reasons.

Dan G Difinosays:

Park those frickin self-driving cars

You get a lot of logic like this now adays. Its not the technologies’ faults that put people in peril, apparently..

Who exactly thinks a world full of bright minds and dexterity ample to steer spacecraft to the moon decides the world needs autonomous vehicles? Is this so people can text at the same time and drive cross town without plowing into the tear of someone just minding their own business? MORONS

naschsays:

Re: Park those frickin self-driving cars


Who exactly thinks a world full of bright minds and dexterity ample to steer spacecraft to the moon decides the world needs autonomous vehicles?

This world is not full of such people.

Is this so people can text at the same time and drive cross town without plowing into the tear of someone just minding their own business? MORONS

Exactly. This technology is designed for people as they actually are: no interest at all in the process of driving, and terrible-to-adequate skill at it. It is not designed for the people we might wish surrounded us.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Park those frickin self-driving cars

In terms of arguments against self-driving cars, “people will do the same ignorant things they do now but without the danger of causing a fatal crash” is a pretty weak one. If he’s trying to say that technology is at fault, I wonder which technology is the one getting people drunk or arguing with family and other distractions in the car.

Plus, if Dan honestly thinks that the majority of people are the people capable of directing NASA space missions, I want to know which planet he’s on, cause it sounds a lot better than this one.

John Mitchellsays:

He's got it bass ackwards on Internet neutrality

If we have self-driving cars, the last thing I want is for Verizon to be doing deals with BMW and Apple to make sure their cars never crash into each other, while Comcast threatens Nokia and Chevy with slow accident-avoidance response times if they don’t pony up what BMW and Apple are paying Verizon.

Derek Kertonsays:

Preferred CarMaker

Suri neglected to tell the opposite reducio-ad-absurdium case, where one carmaker gets preference over another because they paid more for data transport.

Ex: You bought a fine Jaguar self driver, with plush leather-bound volumes in the rear, and a classy all-crystal bar in the center of the conversation pit. I bought a Tata Nano self-driver, with wooden benches and a gerbil-drip self-service water bar. We drive into fog where there happens to be a pile-up. The network is congested from all the accident victims ahead. Your Jag gets prioritization because Jaguar paid for preferential data treatment (aka the data fast lane) while my Nano’s data is delayed. Your Jag gets the data about the pile-up and slows to a safe stop, while my Nano speeds along unaware.

I crash into you, and you die. Dumb luck plays a role, but doesn’t it always?

Anyway, the point is, stupid end-case scenarios can be drawn in either direction.

Zonkersays:

Suri just wants to make sure his car, and those who pay him for the privilege, gets to be treated as prioritized traffic over all other vehicles.

No red lights, speed limits, or traffic stops for him. Everyone else has to stop and wait for his car to pass: regular drivers, pedestrians at crosswalks, freight trucks, school busses, fire trucks, ambulances, etc.

Only police cars or other “official” vehicles will be treated with similar priority as Suri’s car enjoys. If net neutrality were to be enforced, his plans for paid prioritization of vehicular traffic would be ruined!

Sheogorathsays:

We have to get rid of Net Neutrality, otherwise self-driving cars will keep on crashing into each other.
If the above were true, Rajeev Suri (which it isn’t), then isn’t promotion of Net Neutrality what’s needed to ensure the fast signals that you believe are required for self-driving cars?
FYI, self-driving cars use cameras, other sensors, and a self-contained computer to get around. If they’re crashing, it’s not because they can’t access the Internet or because they’ve been hacked, it’s because they weren’t self-driving when the crash occurred (since laws in some areas don’t allow them to be) and old-fashioned human error came into play. Simples!

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