Mapping the development of autonomy in weapon systems

Maaike Verbruggen, Vincent Boulanin

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearch


This report was written and published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The Mapping the Development of Autonomy in Weapon Systems report presents the key findings and recommendations from a one-year mapping study on the development of autonomy in weapon systems.

The report aims to help diplomats and members of civil society interested in the issue of lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) to improve their understanding of the technological foundations of autonomy, and obtain a sense of the speed and trajectory of progress of autonomy in weapon systems. It provides concrete examples that could be used to start delineating the points at which the advance of autonomy in weapons may raise technical, legal, operational and ethical concerns.

The report is also intended to act as a springboard for further investigation into the possible parameters for meaningful human control by setting out some of the lessons learned from how existing weapons with autonomous capabilities are used. In addition, it seeks to help diplomats and members of civil society to identify realistic options for the monitoring and regulation of the development of emerging technologies in the area of LAWS.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationStockholm
PublisherStockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
Commissioning bodyDutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, German Federal Foreign Office, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Number of pages131
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2017


  • autonomous weapon systems
  • lethal autonomous weapon systems
  • killer robots
  • arms control
  • military innovation
  • autonomy
  • autonomous systems
  • emerging military technologies
  • UN CCW

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