. "Appendix B Some Physics-Based Constraints on Autonomous Vehicles: Scaling, Energy, Sensing, and Communications." Autonomous Vehicles in Support of Naval Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2005.
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Autonomous Vehicles in Support of Naval Operations
reach rough “human equivalence” within a decade.) A key point for the deployment of UAVs in support of naval operations is that the basic physics does not impose a serious bandwidth or latency constraint (unlike, for example, the case of planetary exploration by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) that prevents appropriate levels of human involvement with the unmanned vehicles; this feature will allow the total system to have performance comparable to that of a manned system with much less cost and risk. The GIG communications architecture being deployed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense appears to offer all of the necessary features for high-speed, point-to-point communications using secure, focused beams at high frequency. Autonomy (in the sense of onboard computing of those functions that are usually thought to require human intelligence) can be infused as it becomes available, to further reduce cost or risk or to increase performance. But advanced autonomy is not “enabling” except for those missions (some urban, cave, or tunnel warfare scenarios) in which line-of-sight communications cannot be made available.