Autonomous vehicles are all the rage lately, from self-driving cars, swarming quadrocopters to self-piloting military drones and boats. Unfortunately, every single one has a problem.
Like any computer, they can only do what they've been told to do. In other words, it's up to the programmer to think up every possible scenario and how the vehicle should respond.
Given how many things can happen on the road or in the air that are impossible to predict, that means your self-driving car might make the wrong choice at a crucial moment.
The military wants drones that can fire weapons on their own in case an enemy jams communications. Of course, you don't want drones that just fire at anything in sight, but you don't want to drones that are easily fooled into not firing on enemies.
Really what you need in every case is a computer that can actually think, learn and possibly even feel, but that's far easier said than done. Still, scientists think they may have found the answer.