Can blockchain secure communications for robot fleets?

Researchers at MIT and Polytechnic University of Madrid have developed a way to communicate with a team of robots. The system uses a tamper-proof chain of transactions to prevent deception. Leaders use tokens to signal movements and add transactions to the chain, and forfeit their tokens when they are caught in a lie.

Blockchain not just for bitcoin

Each block is a set of directions from a leader robot to followers. If a malicious robot attempts to alter the content of a block, it will change the block hash. The altered directions could be easily ignored by follower robots. Since all followers can eventually see all the directions issued by leader robots, they can see if they have been misled.

Transaction-based communication

In the system the researchers designed, each leader receives a fixed number of tokens that are used to add transactions to the chain. If followers determine the information in a block is false, by checking what the majority of leader robots signaled at that particular step, the leader loses the token. Once a robot is out of tokens it can no longer send messages.

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