What Is An Embedded System Definition, Types, Use, and Future
Embedded systems are everywhere in our daily lives, from digital watches and smartphones to home appliances and medical devices. But do you understand clearly about: “What is an embedded system?” In this article, Nexle Corporation will explain the easy-to-understand definition, types, use cases, and future! Scroll down to dive into the topic!
What is an Embedded System?
An embedded system is a computer hardware system that utilizes a microprocessor and is equipped with software specifically intended to carry out a specialized purpose. This system may operate independently or as an integral component inside a larger system. An integrated circuit optimized for real-time processing serves as the system’s brain.
There are many levels of complexity, from a single microcontroller to a group of connected processors with peripherals and networks and from no user interface to intricate graphical user interfaces. Depending on the goal for which it was created, an embedded system’s level of complexity might vary significantly.
Up to 98 percent of all manufactured microprocessors are used in embedded systems. Applications for embedded systems include hybrid cars, avionics, digital watches, microwaves, and more.
Use Cases of Embedded Systems
Embedded systems may be found everywhere and in every industry. Whether in simple or complicated work, we could use them without realizing it. Examples of where embedded systems may be used are:
Weather prediction calculations and monitoring systems
Hightech vehicles and apparatuses, like UAVs and satellites
Navigation, radar, and satellite systems
Weapons, targeting, and guidance technology tools
Other Common Domestic Applications
Regular household appliances
Domestic/ enterprise security tech
Industrial production monitoring and control
What are the Types of Embedded Systems?
What is a Real-time Embedded System?
Real-time embedded systems are capable of providing output and results in real time. The time it takes to calculate results is essential in real-time embedded systems. Space travel, for example, is one field where having access to crucial information at the drop of a hat is essential. The processing times of the resulting outputs let us further categorize real-time embedded systems into two groups:
Soft real-time embedded systems
Hard real-time embedded systems
These are a few examples of real-time embedded systems:
Sensor data is processed and transmitted by computers in land vehicles and aircraft.
Missile defense system controls
Autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle controls
What are Soft and Hard Real-Time Embedded Systems?
The deadlines or time limits for producing soft, real-time embedded systems are more flexible. There may be a little performance drop if outputs aren’t delivered on time, but this is not considered a failure of the system or the application and is not expected to have serious effects. While the system may be slow, its results are still valued.
To illustrate the concept of a “soft real-time embedded system,” consider a computer running an application whose main goal is to evaluate in real-time relatively harmless, non-mission-critical sensor data, such as the temperature and humidity measurements of a specific region.
Real-time output transmission may be delayed depending on the computer’s processing speed and available memory. Although it is helpful to have this information on hand, collecting and analyzing data on temperature and humidity isn’t usually seen as a mission-critical activity that generates mission-critical data. Therefore, the system’s late outputs would still be considered important, and the latency itself, although indicative of a reduction in service quality, would not have any especially negative consequences.
Put another way, complex real-time embedded systems are the opposite of their soft ones. Due to the nature of the programs and applications typically using hard real-time embedded systems, failure to meet output deadlines is considered a system or application failure, which can have catastrophic consequences.
For instance, in missile defense systems, hard real-time embedded systems are implemented because of the urgent need to identify, track, intercept, and destroy approaching missiles without putting people, property, or infrastructure at risk.
What are Standalone Embedded Systems?
In contrast to networked embedded systems, standalone embedded devices may operate independently. They’re suited to functioning alone to get results.
The following are some examples of standalone embedded systems:
Refrigerator, washing machine, microwave oven
Temperature measurement system
While it’s true that certain embedded systems can work completely on their own, this is by no means general. When used as a component of a larger mechanical, electrical, or electronic system, many embedded systems develop in their aimed roles.
For instance, adaptive cruise control (ACC) systems are not considered independent embedded systems since they cannot perform their intended function if separated from the vehicles in which they are installed.
But a calculator, for instance, after taking input from the user, sends back an answer in math.
In contrast to the ACC system, it does not need to be embedded into a larger system. Hence it is considered a standalone embedded system.
What are Network-Embedded Systems?
To provide results, networked embedded devices connect to the internet through wired or wireless networks and exchange data with remote servers.
Examples of embedded systems that rely on networks that are often discussed include:
Home and office security systems
Security systems for the home or business are systems of sensors, cameras, alarms, and other embedded devices that monitor the inside and outside of a facility and sound an alarm if they detect anything out of the usual.
To process transactions like withdrawals, balance inquiries, deposits, and more, an ATM must be connected to a host computer and a computer controlled by the bank.
A point-of-sale (POS) system is a network of computers and a central server that records financial and other data about customers.
In general, embedded systems are considered network or networked embedded systems if they either include or are supported by networks of other devices.
What are Mobile Embedded Systems?
Mobile embedded systems include all the small, portable embedded devices on the market, from calculators to mobile phones.
It’s important to note the technical overlaps between network-embedded systems, standalone embedded systems, and mobile-embedded systems.
All mobile embedded devices operate independently, while some also function as embedded systems.
Although microwave ovens have embedded systems, they are not mobile since they are too large and heavy to be carried around. Mobile embedded systems, such as point-of-sale terminals, are more compact and easily transportable, although they are network-dependent.
What are Small-Scale, Medium-Scale, and Large-Scale Embedded Systems?
Embedded systems may be broken down into three different types depending on the capabilities of their microcontrollers:
Small-scale embedded systems: 8-bit or 16-bit microcontroller
Medium-scale embedded systems: 16-bit or 32-bit microcontroller
Sophisticated embedded systems: 32-bit or 62-bit microcontroller
How do Embedded Systems Work?
Embedded systems are designed to work only as part of a bigger device. A low-power embedded computer is a small device that may be found in other mechanical or electrical systems. They typically have a CPU, a power supply, memory, and data and voice transmission connectors. With the help of a communication protocol, embedded systems’ processors may send and receive data with external devices, most often with other embedded systems. The CPU uses the minimal software stored in memory to make sense of this information. In most cases, the software running on an embedded system is written with a particular goal in mind.
A microprocessor or microcontroller might serve as the processor. Simply said, microcontrollers are microprocessors with integrated memory and peripheral interfaces. Microprocessors rely on external integrated circuits instead of incorporating memory and peripherals on the chip. Although both are useful, microprocessors often need supplementary circuitry in addition to microcontrollers due to the microprocessor’s lower level of integration. The acronym “SoC” (system-on-a-chip) is often used to describe these integrated circuits. SoCs are integrated circuits that have different interfaces and processors. They find widespread use in mass-produced embedded systems. Types of SoCs include ASICs and FPGAs, which are specialized chips used in certain applications.
Embedded systems often interact with hardware using a real-time operating system (RTOS) in real-time operating environments. At higher levels of chip capability, when systems are normally fast enough and jobs are tolerant of modest changes in response time, near-real-time techniques are acceptable. Embedded Java and Windows IoT (previously Windows Embedded) are two additional operating systems that have been slimmed down to operate on embedded devices, although Linux is the most popular choice.
Developments in fields like AI, augmented and virtual reality, machine learning, deep learning, and the Internet of Things are expected to drive the explosive growth of the embedded systems industry. The cognitive embedded system will benefit from energy efficiency, embedded device security, cloud and mesh networking, deep learning applications, and real-time data visualization tools.
QYResearch estimates that the embedded systems market will grow from its 2017 $69.1 billion to $105.7 billion by the end of 2025.
Embedded systems are essential for many applications we use and depend on. They have three main components: hardware, software, and communication. They are constantly evolving and improving as new technologies and challenges emerge. Nexle Corporation hopes you know more deeply about “What is an embedded system”. If you have something more to talk about this topic, do not hesitate to contact us immediately!
Nexle is a leading software development company based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We are delivering on the world’s largest, most complex projects to transform the way governments, companies and communities work. We have been developing smart, technology-enabled solutions to solve our clients’ toughest challenges, demonstrating a commitment to excellence and a passion for exceeding expectations. Nexle is well positioned to be a partner and co-innovator to businesses in their transformation journey, identify new growth opportunities and facilitate their foray into new sectors and markets. We’re globally recognized for our innovative approach towards delivering business values and our commitment to client success.