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For centuries, warring nations have sought to lower the risk to highly vulnerable humans on the battlefield, typically by providing protective armor, making soldiers' positions more difficult to detect, or by striking from locations safe from retaliation. Autonomous weaponry has now reached the point where robotic systems can perform some key tasks that previously required direct human involvement.
Military Robots and Drones: A Reference Handbook introduces the lay person to a highly specialized topic, providing the foundation necessary for further study in this field. Appropriate for high school and college-level students, as well as general readers with an interest in the topic, the author explains the many military applications of robotics as well as current limitations and disadvantages.
The book also provides a general history of robotic warfare; examines key individuals, agencies, documents, and models; discusses controversies within the field of robotic and drone warfare, such as ethical considerations; and explains how increased reliance on robotics has affected the structure and strategy of the military.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated the usefulness of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), robots, and other cutting-edge military technology, sparking public awareness and interest. While these high-tech tools can reduce some of the threats to human life posed by warfare, there are drawbacks to these weapons that have prompted heated debate on the complex legal and moral issues raised by the use of these weapons.