Arms control for armed uninhabited vehicles: an ethical issue

Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):137-152 (2013)
Arming uninhabited vehicles (UVs) is an increasing trend. Widespread deployment can bring dangers for arms-control agreements and international humanitarian law (IHL). Armed UVs can destabilise the situation between potential opponents. Smaller systems can be used for terrorism. Using a systematic definition existing international regulation of armed UVs in the fields of arms control, export control and transparency measures is reviewed; these partly include armed UVs, but leave large gaps. For preventive arms control a general prohibition of armed UVs would be best. If that is unattainable, several measures should be taken. An explicit prohibition of autonomous attack, that is without a human decision, should be added to IHL. Concerning armed UVs remotely controlled by a human soldier, recommendations differ according to type or mission. New kinds of uninhabited nuclear-weapon carriers should be banned. Space weapons should be prohibited in general. UVs smaller than 0.2–0.5 m should be banned. Bigger remotely controlled armed UVs not equipped with weapons of mass destruction should be subject to numerical limitations in various categories. For these the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe is an important precedent
Keywords Unmanned vehicle  Uninhabited vehicle  Military robot  Arms control  Disarmament  UAV  UGV  USV  UUV  UMS
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DOI 10.1007/s10676-013-9314-5
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Killer Robots.Robert Sparrow - 2007 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (1):62–77.
How Just Could a Robot War Be?Peter Asaro - 2008 - In P. Brey, A. Briggle & K. Waelbers (eds.), Current Issues in Computing and Philosophy. Ios Press. pp. 50--64.
Saying 'No!' to Lethal Autonomous Targeting.Noel Sharkey - 2010 - Journal of Military Ethics 9 (4):369-383.

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