- Armament and disarmament
- Conflict, peace and security
- Peace and development
Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Paper no. 65
The European Union (EU) and EU member states are increasingly investing in military swarm research, despite the significant challenges that exist in establishing human control over swarms. These challenges include the high cognitive demands on human operators; interface and control design choices; disrupted communications between operator and swarm, whether from in-built technological limitations or environmental factors; and the inherent unpredictability of certain kinds of swarms. These challenges create tactical risks and increase the chances of undesired outcomes, such as conflict escalation and violations of international humanitarian law and ethical principles. EU-funded swarm research programmes should take steps to address these issues.