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The legal regime governing AUV operations how far and how wide

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1 Author(s)
Rogers, R. ; Nat. Marine Facilities Dept., Nat. Oceanogr. Centre, Southampton, UK

The last decade has seen an exponential growth in the legal literature looking at the applicability of the law as it relates to the operational use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). The legal views postulated in this burgeoning body of literature are varied and can be very driven by scenario [e.g. requirement for navigational safety] or by class of AUV operator [defence/academic]. The legality can also be further complicated when some vehicle operators are planning to operate a mix of unmanned maritime vehicles in the air, at the sea surface and underwater. Legal opinions are now being sought when concepts such as `swarms', `networks' and `system of systems' are being muted in the context of AUV operations. A new dimension is that AUV operators are now looking at ethical issues surrounding some types of AUV usage where complete autonomy is being considered. The area of ethics of robotics is a distinct entity its own right and has associated with it a defined body of law. This paper seeks to try and provide an up to date understanding of how applicable and broad the legal regime relating to the operation of AUVs is and will suggest how this may change as the use of AUV's becomes even more commonplace.

Published in:

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), 2012 IEEE/OES

Date of Conference:

24-27 Sept. 2012