What are embedded systems?

Articles / 30 Apr 2024

Embedded Systems Basics:

In this article, we will introduce you to the fascinating world of embedded systems! Explore their definition, and different types (real-time, networked), and see the vast array of applications they power.

What are embedded systems?

Embedded Systems are computer systems that are dedicated to performing specific tasks, and they are embedded within larger mechanical and electronic systems, that's why they are named embedded systems.

An Embedded System consists of Hardware that is run by Software. The hardware is a chip, and this chip can be programmed to perform specific tasks.

Embedded Systems Applications Example:

Embedded systems can be found in Industrial machines, consumer electronics, agricultural devices, medical equipment, cameras, digital watches, household appliances, airplanes, vending machines, and toys. But here we will focus on its application in the Automotive Industry.

Modern cars commonly consist of many computer systems (sometimes as many as 100), or embedded systems, designed to perform different tasks within the vehicle. The functions of these embedded systems vary from basic functions such as Automatic Barking Systems, and Cruise Control, to advanced entertainment systems like ACs and other In-car entertainment systems such as Audio and Video features.

Embedded System Components:

Hardware: represented in the microprocessors and microcontrollers.

Software: Typically, the hardware needs to be programmed to perform specific tasks, as mentioned earlier in the article.

A real-time operating system (RTOS). Unlike traditional operating systems, an RTOS is designed to handle critical events in real-time, making it the perfect choice for applications that require split-second decision-making, which is highly applicable in the Automotive Industry in tasks like Automatic Braking Systems.

Types of embedded systems:

Embedded systems come in different types depending on their function. There are four basic types of embedded systems, which include the following:

1. Mobile embedded systems: These are small-sized systems that are designed to be portable. Examples include digital cameras.

2. Networked embedded systems: These systems are connected to a network to provide output to other systems. Examples include home security systems.

3. Standalone embedded systems: These systems perform a specialized task but are not reliant on a host system. Examples of these systems include calculators or MP3 players.

4. Real-time embedded systems: These systems are used in medical, industrial, and military sectors because they are responsible for time-critical tasks and give the required output in a defined time interval. A great example of this that you see every day is Traffic Cameras that spot any car violating traffic laws.

Embedded Systems Industry Overview:

According to Global Market Insights Inc., the Embedded Systems Market Size in 2022 was USD 140 Billion, with an Expected Value Projection by 2032 that is equal to USD 250 Billion, resulting in a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6%.

The Future of Embedded Systems:

Automotive manufacturers worldwide are currently prioritizing the improvement of existing mobility solutions and safety systems by integrating advanced features such as AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) and ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems). This direction is expected to increase the demand for embedded components, including memory, microcontrollers, microprocessors, and others, which will further boost market performance in the coming years.

Embedded Systems Learning Journeys:

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