International Law Studies


Robert Sparrow


Would it be ethical to deploy autonomous weapon systems (AWS) if they were unable to reliably recognize when enemy forces had surrendered? I suggest that an inability to reliably recognize surrender would not prohibit the ethical deployment of AWS where there was a limited window of opportunity for targets to surrender between the launch of the AWS and its impact. However, the operations of AWS with a high degree of autonomy and/or long periods of time between release and impact are likely to remain controversial until they have the capacity to reliably recognize surrender.