Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), sometimes known as underwater drones, are able to operate underwater without a human occupant.
There are two categories:
- remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), which are controlled by a remote human operator,
- and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), which operate independently of direct human input.
ABC News reports that some top counterintelligence analysts record a significant increase in spying and cyber operations, seeking classified information on America’s autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) in order to undercut the U.S.’s “underseas battlespace dominance.”
For some years the US Navy has been designing unmanned vehicles to discover and terminate underwater mines far more quickly than teams of human divers.
Autonomous submarines have also been developed, but their sensors do not yet give sufficient information for use in warfare. In the report: Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design we read:
“Specifically, if the submarine were to encounter a ship that is transporting enemy supplies, there would be no way for the submarine to know how many civilians are on board. Without that knowledge, it would not be allowed to sink the ship for fear of killing too many innocents”.
Yet there currently seems to be little concern about airborne drones killing innocents.
Be afraid: be very afraid.