Experiences applying formal approaches in the development of swarm-based space exploration systems
Source: International Journal on Software Tools for Technology Transfer, Volume 8, Number 6, November 2006 , pp. 587-603(17)
Abstract:NASA is researching advanced technologies for future exploration missions using intelligent swarms of robotic vehicles. One of these missions is the Autonomous Nano-Technology Swarm (ANTS) mission that will explore the asteroid belt using 1,000 cooperative autonomous spacecraft. The emergent properties of intelligent swarms make it a potentially powerful concept, but at the same time more difficult to design and ensure that the proper behaviors will emerge. NASA is investigating formal methods and techniques for verification of such missions. The advantage of using formal methods is the ability to mathematically verify the behavior of a swarm, emergent or otherwise. Using the ANTS mission as a case study, we have evaluated multiple formal methods to determine their effectiveness in modeling and ensuring desired swarm behavior. This paper discusses the results of this evaluation and proposes an integrated formal method for ensuring correct behavior of future NASA intelligent swarms.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2006-11-01