Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Autonomous Systems: Issues for Defence Policymakers




This chapter recommends the increased use of agent-based simulation methods to support the design, development, testing, and operational use of autonomous systems. This recommendation is motivated by deriving taxonomies for intelligent software agents and autonomous robotic systems from the public literature, which shows their similarity: intelligent software agents can be interpreted as the virtual counterparts of autonomous robotic systems. This leads to examples of how simulation can be used to significantly improve autonomous system research and development in selected use cases. The chapter closes with observations on the operational effects of possible emergent behaviour and the need to align the research agenda with other relevant organisations facing similar challenges.


"Copyright is retained by the authors, or their respective parent organizations where indicated in each chapter."

© Andreas Tolk

Original Publication Citation

Tolk, A. (2015). Merging two worlds: Agent-based simulation methods for autonomous systems. In A. P. Williams & P. D. Scharre (Eds.), Autonomous Systems: Issues for Defence Policymakers (pp. 291-317). Norfolk, VA: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.


0000-0002-4201-8757 (Tolk, Andreas)