ICRAC Working Papers

Gubrud, M./Altmann, J. (2013). Compliance Measures for an Autonomous Weapons Convention, ICRAC Working Paper Series #2, International Committee for Robot Arms Control, PDF

Bolton, M./Zwijnenburg, W. (2013). Futureproofing Is Never Complete: Ensuring the Arms Trade Treaty Keeps Pace with New Weapons Technology, ICRAC Working Paper Series #1, International Committee for Robot Arms Control, PDF


Publications by members of ICRAC

Altmann, J. (2001). Military Uses of Microsystem Technologies – Dangers and Preventive Arms Control, Münster: agenda.

Altmann, J., Gubrud, M. (2002) Risks from Military Uses of Nanotechnology – The Need for Technology Assessment and Preventive Control, in M. Roco and R. Tomellini (eds.) Nanotechnology: Revolutionary Opportunities and Societal Implications, Luxembourg: European Communities, 2002, PDF

Altmann, J., Gubrud, M. (2004) Anticipating Military Nanotechnology, IEEE Technology & Society, 23 (4), 33-40.

Altmann, J. (2006). Military Nanotechnology: Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control, Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Altmann, J. (2009). Preventive Arms Control for Uninhabited Military Vehicles, in R. Capurro, M. Nagenborg (eds.), Ethics and Robotics, Heidelberg: AKA, 2009. PDF

Altmann, J. (2011). Unbemannte Kampffahrzeuge und internationale Begrenzungen (Unmanned Combat Vehicles and International Limits), Humanitäres Völkerrecht – Informationsschriften, 24 (2), 116-119.

Altmann, J. (2013). Arms Control for Armed Uninhabited Vehicles – An Ethical Issue, Ethics and Information Technology, 15 (2), 137-152, DOI 10.1007/s10676-013-9314-5. PDF

Altmann, J. (2013). Unbemannte bewaffnete Systeme – Trends, Gefahren und präventive Rüstungskontrolle (Unmanned Armed Systems – Trends, Dangers and Arms Control), in DSF, Unbemannte bewaffnete Systeme: Verändert der rüstungstechnologische Wandel den Umgang mit Konflikten? Eine friedenspolitische Perspektive, DSF Arbeitspapiere 9, Osnabrück: Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung. PDF

Altmann, J. / Sauer, F. 2016: Speed Kills: Why we Need to Hit the Brakes on “Killer Robots”, in: http://duckofminerva.com.

Altmann, Jürgen/Sauer, Frank 2017: Autonomous Weapon Systems and Strategic Stability, in: Survival 59 (5): 117-142.


Asaro, P. (2008). How Just Could a Robot War Be?, in Philip Brey, Adam Briggle and Katinka Waelbers (Eds), Current Issues in Computing and Philosophy, Amsterdam: IOS, pp. 50-64, PDF

Asaro, P. (2009). Modeling the Moral User: Designing Ethical Interfaces for Tele-Operation, IEEE Technology & Society, 28 (1), 20-24.

Asaro, P. (2012). On banning autonomous weapon systems: human rights, automation, and the dehumanization of lethal decision-making, International Review of the Red Cross, 94, 687-709.


Bolton, M. (2013). US must impose moratorium and seek global ban on killer robots. The Hill.

Bolton, M./Nash, T./Moyes, R. (2012). Ban autonomous armed robots. Article 36.


Gubrud, M. (2013) US killer robot policy: full speed ahead. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists online, 20 September 2013.

Gubrud, M. (2014) Stopping killer robots. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 70 (1), 32-42.


Sauer, F. (2016): Stopping ‘Killer Robots’: Why Now Is the Time to Ban Autonomous Weapons Systems, in: Arms Control Today 46:8, 8-13.

Sauer, F. (2014): Autonomous Weapons Systems – Humanising or Dehumanising Warfare? Global Governance Spotlight 4|2014. German Development and Peace Foundation. Bonn. PDF

Sauer, F./Schörnig, N. (2012): Killer Drones – The Silver Bullet of Democratic Warfare? Security Dialogue 43:4, 363-380.


Sharkey, N. (2007). Automated Killers and the Computing Profession. Computer, 40 (11), 122-124.

Sharkey, N. (2008). Cassandra or False Prophet of Doom: AI Robots and War. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 23 (4), 14-17.

Sharkey, N. (2008). Grounds for Discrimination: Autonomous Robot Weapons. RUSI Defence Systems, 11 (2), 86-89. PDF

Sharkey, N. (2008). The Ethical Frontiers of Robotics. Science, 32 (5909), 1800-1801.

Sharkey, N. (2009). Death Strikes from the Sky: The calculus of proportionality, IEEE Technology and Society,28, 16-19.

Sharkey, N. (2009). Weapons of indiscriminate lethality, FIfF Kommunikation, 1/09, 26-28. PDF

Sharkey, N. (2009). A matter of precision, Defence Management Journal, December, 74-76.

Sharkey, N. (2010) Saying “No!” to Lethal Autonomous Targeting, Journal of Military Ethics, Vol. 9, No. 4, 299-313.

Sharkey, N (2011) Processus décisionnels : vers des réponses automatisées aux questions de vie ou de mort, In Ronan Doare and Henri Hude (ed) Les Robots Au Coeur Du Champ De Bataille, 49-67

Sharkey, N. (2011) The automation and proliferation of military drones and the protection of civilians, Journal of Law, Innovation and Technology, 3(2) 229–240

Sharkey, N. (2012) Automating Warfare: lessons learned from the drones, Journal of Law, Information & Science, 21(2)

Sharkey, N. (2012). Killing made easy: from joystics to politics, in Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics, eds. Patrick Lin, George Bekey, and Keith Abney, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Sharkey, N. (2012). The evitability of autonomous robot warfare, International Review of the Red Cross, 94, 787-799.


Sparrow, R. (2007). Killer Robots, Journal of Applied Philosophy, 24 (1): 62-77. PDF

Sparrow, R. (2009). Predators or Plowshares? Arms Control of Robotic Weapons, IEEE Technology and Society, 28 (1): 25-29. PDF

Sparrow, R. (2009). Building a Better WarBot: Ethical issues in the design of unmanned systems for military applications, Science and Engineering Ethics, 15 (2), 169–187.

Sparrow, R. 2016.   Robots and respect: Assessing the case against Autonomous Weapon Systems. Ethics and International Affairs 30 (1), 93-116. doi:10.1017/S0892679415000647.


Other References — Monographs and edited volumes

Arkin, R.C. (2009). Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots, Boca Raton FL: Chapman&Hall/CRC.

Capurro, R., Nagenborg, M. (Eds) (2009). Ethics and Robotics, Heidelberg: AKA/IOS.

Dabringer, Gerhard (Ed.) (2011:). Ethical and Legal Aspects of Unmanned Systems – Interviews, Institut für Religion und Frieden, Ethica Themen, Wien.

Krishnan, A. (2009). Killer Robots – Legality and Ethicality of Autonomous Weapons, Farnham
Surrey/Burlington VT: Ashgate.

Lin, Patrick/Abney, Keith/Bekey, George (Eds.) (2012). Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Moravec, H. (1998). Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Singer, P. (2009). Wired For War – The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, New York: Penguin.

Wallach, W./Allen, C. (2009). Moral Machines – Teaching Robots Right from Wrong, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Weber, J. (2009). Robotic Warfare, Human Rights and the Rhetoric of Ethical Machines, in Capurro/Nagenborg.


Other References – Miscellaneous

Arkin, R.C. (2007). Governing Lethal Behavior: Embedding Ethics in a Hybrid Deliberative/Reactive Robot Architecture, Technical Report GIT-GVU-07-11, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology. PDF

Barry, C.L., Zimet, E. (2001). UCAVs – Technological, Policy, and Operational Challenges, Defense Horizons, no. 3. PDF

Bundesregierung (2009). Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage, Einführung und Bedeutung unbemannter militärischer Fahrzeuge und Luftfahrzeuge, Drucksache 16/12481, Berlin: Deutscher Bundestag. PDF

Canning, J.S. (2005). A Definitive Work on Factors Impacting the Arming of Unmanned Vehicles, NSWCDD/TR-05/36, Dahlgren VA: Naval Surface Warfare Center. PDF

Finn, A. (2008). Legal considerations for the weaponisation of Unmanned Ground Vehicles, International Journal of Intelligent Defence Support Systems, 1 (1), 43-74.

Fleming, N. (2009). Campaign asks for international treaty to limit war robots, New Scientist Tech, 30 Sept.

Gulam, H., Lee, S.W. (2006). Uninhabited combat aerial vehicles and the law of armed conflict, Australian Army Journal, 3 (2), 123–136.

Jane’s (2007). Jane’s Unmanned Vehicles and Aerial Targets, Coulsdon: Jane’s.

Lin, P., Bekey, G., Abney, K. (2008). Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design, San Luis Obispo: California Polytechnic State University, Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group. PDF

Lazarski, A.J. (2002). Legal Implications of the Uninhabited Combat Aerial Vehicle, Aerospace Power Journal, 16 (2), 74-83.

Marks, P. (2006). Armchair warlords and robot hordes, New Scientist, 192 (2575), 24.

Mayer, J. (2009). The Predator War – What are the risks of the C.I.A.’s covert drone program?, The New Yorker, October 26, 2009.

Oudes, Cor/Zwijnenburg, Wim (2011). Does Unmanned Make Unacceptable? Exploring the Debate on using Drones and Robots in Warfare, IKV Pax Christi. PDF

Quintana, E. (2008). The Ethics and Legal Implications of Military Unmanned Vehicles, Occasional Paper, London: Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies/British Computer Society. PDF

Sullivan, J.M. (2006). Evolution or Revolution? The Rise of UAVs, IEEE Technology and Society, 25 (3), 43-49.

Zwanenburg, M., Hosang, H.B., Wijngaards, N. (2005). Humans, Agents and International Humanitarian Law: Dilemmas in Target Discrimination, in Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on the Law of Electronic Agents – LEA, 408-412. PDF


Selected military, governmental, and similar documents

US DoD: Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007-2032 – A key document to grasp the impact of unmanned systems in the US military.

US DoD: Aircraft Procurement Plan – Fiscal Years (FY) 2012-2041 – This document states that the US Department of Defense plans for a slight decrease of the total aviation force until 2021. Yet, the number of “aircraft in the multirole unmanned aircraft system category will more than triple” in the same period (p. 14).

US DARPA: The Vulture Program – This is a call for proposals from DARPA for a battery that will keep a heavier-than-air system with a payload of 1000lbs in the air for 5 years. In connection to this a 2012 Project Accomplishment Summary by the Sandia National Laboratory concluded that a power source has indeed been found but can presently not be used due to constraints by “political realities” (p. 2). It is very probable that SNL was looking into nuclear power sources (most likely a strongly encapsulated heat source such as Pu-238 which is already used in spacecraft) for UAV propulsion in this case.

US DoD: United States Air Force Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan 2009-2047 – This report discusses the progression from “man in the loop” systems to “man on the loop” systems and then to full autonomy.

US DoD: Report to Congress: Development and Utilization of Robotics and Unmanned Ground Vehicles – A report on  UGVs

US DoD: The Navy Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) Master Plan 2004 – A report on UUVs, aptly called a “master plan”

US Naval Studies Board: Autonomous Vehicles in Support of Naval Operations – This report contains some useful classes of autonomous operation across the different armed forces. It also discusses the benefits of autonomy.

US DoD: Unmanned Systems Safety Guide for DOD Acquisition 2007 – An extensive report on the safety aspects of military unmanned systems.


Introductory and Educational Resources

Killer robots: dystopian fiction or imminent threat? – Video clips and brief discussion of autonomous weapon systems that exist today or are under development, compiled by Sarah Leo of Action on Armed Violence.