Robotic dilithium transports, OTOH, might still tempt the bold and the greedy.
Apparently, it didn't matter to "The Pirates of Orion
" whether the USS Huron
was automated or manned by a small crew.
I don't recall its crew to activate any defense measures and certainly an AI could have just made a distress call. Thus, to have this ship manned with people just created the potential for unpleasant hostage negotiations (had the Orions decided to abduct the crew, too).