On Fault Tolerance and Scalability of Swarm Robotic Systems
This paper challenges the common assumption that swarm robotic systems are robust and scalable by default. We present an analysis based on both reliability modelling and experimental trials of a case study swarm performing team work, in which failures are deliberately induced. Our case study has been carefully chosen to represent a swarm task in which the overall desired system behaviour is an emergent property of the interactions between robots, in order that we can assess the fault tolerance of a self-organising system. Our findings show that in the presence of worst-case partially failed robots the overall system reliability quickly falls with increasing swarm size. We conclude that future large scale swarm systems will need a new approach to achieving high levels of fault tolerance.
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