Towards Temporal Verification of Emergent Behaviours in Swarm Robotic Systems

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Clare Dixon, Alan Winfield, Micheal Fisher
Roderich Groß, Lyuba Alboul, Chris Melhuish, Mark Witkowski, Tony J. Prescott, Jacques Penders (eds.)
Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems, pages 336-347
Lecture Notes in Computer Science 6856

A robot swarm is a collection of simple robots designed to work together to carry out some task. Such swarms rely on: the simplicity of the individual robots; the fault tolerance inherent in having a large population of often identical robots; and the self-organised behaviour of the swarm as a whole. Although robot swarms are being deployed in increasingly sophisticated areas, designing individual control algorithms that can guarantee the required global behaviour is difficult. In this paper we apply and assess the use of formal verification techniques, in particular that of model checking, for analysing the emergent behaviours of robotic swarms. These techniques, based on the automated analysis of systems using temporal logics, allow us to analyse all possible behaviours and so identify potential problems with the robot swarm conforming to some required global behaviour. To show this approach we target a particular swarm control algorithm, and show how automated temporal analysis can help to refine and analyse such an algorithm.