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The Role of Autonomy in DoD Systems

The Role of Autonomy in DoD Systems published on

Authored by Department of Defense Defense Science Board

Unmanned systems are proving to have a significant impact on warfare worldwide. The true value of these systems is not to provide a direct human replacement, but rather to extend and complement human capability in a number of ways. These systems extend human reach by providing potentially unlimited persistent capabilities without degradation due to fatigue or lack of attention. Unmanned systems offer the warfighter more options and flexibility to access hazardous environments, work at small scales, or react at speeds and scales beyond human capability. With proper design of bounded autonomous capabilities, unmanned systems can also reduce the high cognitive load currently placed on operators/supervisors. Moreover, increased autonomy can enable humans to delegate those tasks that are more effectively done by computer, including synchronizing activities between multiple unmanned systems, software agents and warfighters-thus freeing humans to focus on more complex decision making.

While the potential of autonomy is great, there have been many obstacles to general broad acceptance of unmanned systems, and, specifically, the autonomous capabilities needed to realize the benefits of autonomy in military applications. Most Department of Defense (DoD) deployments of unmanned systems have been motivated by the pressing needs of conflict, particularly the threat of improvised explosive devices and the need for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data collection. To date, most of the demonstrated benefits of autonomous systems have been in air or ground applications, but there exists no reason that they could not be effective in maritime and space missions as well.

The Task Force was charged to assist the DoD in understanding and preparing to take maximum practical advantage of advances in autonomy by reviewing relevant technologies, ongoing research and the current autonomy-relevant plans of the Military Services. The Department asked the Task Force to identify new opportunities to more aggressively use autonomy in military missions, to anticipate vulnerabilities and to make recommendations for overcoming operational difficulties and systemic barriers to realizing the full potential of autonomous systems.

Publication Date:
Mar 07 2015
ISBN/EAN13:
1508746184 / 9781508746188
Page Count:
120
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Language:
English
Color:
Black and White
Related Categories:
Political Science / Political Freedom & Security / International Secur

12.95

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