Safe flocking in spite of actuator faults

Taylor Johnson, Sayan Mitra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The safe flocking problem requires a collection of N mobile agents to (a) converge to and maintain an equi-spaced lattice formation, (b) arrive at a destination, and (c) always maintain a minimum safe separation. Safe flocking in Euclidean spaces is a well-studied and difficult coordination problem. Motivated by real-world deployment of multi-agent systems, this paper studies one-dimensional safe flocking, where agents are afflicted by actuator faults. An actuator fault is a new type of failure that causes an affected agent to be stuck moving with an arbitrary velocity. In this setting, first, a self-stabilizing solution for the problem is presented. This relies on a failure detector for actuator faults. Next, it is shown that certain actuator faults cannot be detected, while others may require O(N) time for detection. Finally, a simple failure detector that achieves the latter bound is presented. Several simulation results are presented for illustrating the effects of failures on the progress towards flocking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems - 12th International Symposium, SSS 2010, Proceedings
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2010
Event12th International Symposium on Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems, SSS 2010 - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Sep 20 2010Sep 22 2010

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume6366 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other12th International Symposium on Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems, SSS 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York, NY


  • failure detector
  • flocking
  • safety
  • stabilization
  • swarming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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