International Law Studies


This article provides an overview of robotics and autonomous systems so that attorneys can better understand the systems and design principles of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) that may be used in an armed conflict. Using the lens of establishing a common language between engineers and attorneys, the article introduces the basics of robotics terminology, explores how autonomous systems work by explaining control systems and control architecture, and examines how autonomous systems learn and reason. It also suggests a number of questions attorneys should ask engineers during the design process in order to ensure autonomous systems are designed in a way that comply with the laws of armed conflict.