This paper describes a complex networks approach to study the failure tolerance of mechatronic software systems under various types of hardware and/or software failures. We produce synthetic system architectures based on evidence of modular and hierarchical modular product architectures and known motifs for the interconnection of physical components to software. The system architectures are then subject to various forms of attack. The attacks simulate failure of critical hardware or software. Four types of attack are investigated: degree centrality, betweenness centrality, closeness centrality and random attack. Failure tolerance of the system is measured by a ‘robustness coefficient’, a topological ‘size’ metric of the connectedness of the attacked network. We find that the betweenness centrality attack results in the most significant reduction in the robustness coefficient, confirming betweenness centrality, rather than the number of connections (i.e. degree), as the most conservative metric of component importance. A counter-intuitive finding is that “designed” system architectures, including a bus, ring, and star architecture, are not significantly more failure-tolerant than interconnections with no prescribed architecture, that is, a random architecture. Our research provides a data-driven approach to engineer the architecture of mechatronic software systems for failure tolerance.

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