An Overview of Federated Learning at the Edge and Distributed Ledger Technologies for Robotic and Autonomous Systems

Yu Xianjia, Jorge Peña Queralta, Jukka Heikkonen, Tomi Westerlund

Autonomous systems are becoming inherently ubiquitous with the advancements of computing and communication solutions enabling low-latency offloading and real-time collaboration of distributed devices. Decentralized technologies with blockchain and distributed ledger tech- nologies (DLTs) are playing a key role. At the same time, advances in deep learning (DL) have significantly raised the degree of autonomy and level of intelligence of robotic and autonomous systems. While these technological revolutions were taking place, raising concerns in terms of data security and end-user privacy has become an inescapable research consideration. Federated learning (FL) is a promising solution to privacy-preserving DL at the edge, with an inherently distributed nature by learning on isolated data islands and communicating only model updates. However, FL by itself does not provide the levels of security and robustness required by today’s standards in distributed autonomous systems. This survey covers applications of FL to autonomous robots, analyzes the role of DLT and FL for these systems, and introduces the key background concepts and considerations in current research.