Military Robots: Mapping the Moral Landscape

Philosophers have wrestled over the morality and ethics of war for nearly as long as human beings have been waging it. The death and destruction that unmanned warfare entails magnifies the moral and ethical challenges we face in conventional warfare and everyday society. Intrinsically linked are questions and perennial problems concerning what justifies the initial…

How Robots Can Affect Human Behavior: Investigating the Effects of Robotic Displays of Protest and Distress

The rise of military drones and other robots deployed in ethically-sensitive contexts has fueled interest in developing autonomous agents that behave ethically. The ability for autonomous agents to independently reason about situational ethics will inevitably lead to confrontations between robots and human operators regarding the morality of issued commands. Ideally, a robot would be able…

Overriding Ethical Constraints in Lethal Autonomous Systems

This article describes the philosophy, design, and prototype implementation of an operator override system intended for use in managing unmanned robotic systems capable of lethal behavior. The ethical ramifications associated with the responsibility assignment of such a system are presented, which guide the development of the proof-of-concept system that serves as the basis for the…

Time-Critical Cooperative Path Following of Multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles over Time-Varying Networks

This paper addresses the problem of steering a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles along desired three-dimensional paths while meeting stringent spatial and temporal constraints. A representative example is the challenging mission scenario where the unmanned aerial vehicles are tasked to cooperatively execute collision-free maneuvers and arrive at their final destinations at the same time. In…