The superpowers in the world have long been interested in the development of defense technology to gain that competitive edge over other nations, even if it is just psychological. This pressing need for supremacy has seen funding to the tune of billions of dollars and has yielded many scientific marvels. A prime example is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
A UAV is a much smaller aircraft without a pilot onboard. These robots can be remote controlled or given autonomous control based on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems. UAVs are currently used in a number of military roles, including reconnaissance and attack. The degree of autonomy of such aircrafts has been gradually increasing over the years ever since the first UAV was introduced in the 1950s. The degree of autonomy is contingent on areas like sensor fusion, motion planning, communications, trajectory generations, task scheduling and cooperative tactics. As is the case with most new inventions, the UAV can be used for a number of productive and peaceful missions but its primary application has always been in the defense sector. The
The UAV will definitely save many lives if employed in a combat situation and that was the idea behind its inception. While this invention is a great success from a scientific point of view, it adds a host of moral dilemmas. Since such aircrafts are unmanned, there is no human life factor to consider in a hostile situation, thus making it easier to go to war. Also we are still a long way off from getting robots to simulate human emotions and that is something that there is simply no substitute for. If the UAV continues development at the current rate than it wouldn't be long before it is used extensively not just for surveillance, but for combat also. We can only hope that this will not lead to more conflict between the nations as the all of mankind will have to bear the burden. The futility of war is probably best highlighted by the quote 'War seldom determines who is right, only who is left.'
Karthik Ramaswamy U037067L