Fault-tolerant gathering algorithms for autonomous mobile robots

Noa Agmon, David Peleg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


This paper studies fault-tolerant algorithms for the problem of gathering N autonomous mobile robots. A gathering algorithm, executed independently by each robot, must ensure that all robots are gathered at one point within finite time. In a failure-prone system, a gathering algorithm is required to successfully gather the nonfaulty robots, independently of the behavior of the faulty ones. Both crash and Byzantine faults are considered. It is first observed that most existing algorithms fail to operate correctly in a setting allowing crash failures. Subsequently, an algorithm tolerant against one crash-faulty robot in a system of three or more robots is presented, It is then observed that all known algorithms fail to operate correctly in a system prone to Byzantine faults, even in the presence of a single fault. Moreover, it is shown that in an asynchronous environment it is impossible to perform a successful gathering in a 3-robot system, even if at most one of them might fail in a Byzantine manner. Thus, the problem is studied in a fully synchronous system. An algorithm is provided in this model for gathering N ≥ 3 robots with at most a single faulty robot, and a more general gathering algorithm is given in an N-robot system with up to f faults, where N ≥ 3 f + 1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-82
Number of pages27
JournalSIAM Journal on Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Autonomous mobile robots
  • Convergence
  • Robot swarms


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