This resource features examples of weapons systems, either already existing or announced as in development, with features that might be informative to considerations around autonomy in weapons systems.
It is important to note that different companies label or represent automation and autonomy differently. For some, the term ‘autonomy’ is used as a positive marketing term to emphasise innovation. Others seek to emphasise the retention of human decision making, perhaps mindful of the emerging public and political debate on autonomy in weapon systems. This means that the actual nature and extent of automated functioning is not always obvious from promotional literature, and in some cases may be exaggerated.
The systems highlighted here feature various levels of autonomy. Not all of these systems are considered to be autonomous weapons systems (in the sense of using sensors to detect and apply force to targets directly). However, they do point to trends and possibilities in increasing autonomy in weapon systems.
Please note that category images used below are illustrative, and do not represent the system in question.