What are Embedded Systems

What is an Embedded System?

This definition explains embedded systems, examples of their use and how they work.

Some example SoC types are the application-specific integrated circuit (Often, embedded systems are used in real-time operating environments and use a real-time operating system (RTOS) to communicate with the hardware.

In these instances, stripped-down versions of the Linux operating system are commonly deployed, although other OSes have been pared down to run on embedded systems, including Embedded Java and Windows IoT (formerly Windows Embedded).Characteristics of embedded systems.

The main characteristic of embedded systems is that they are task-specific.Additionally, embedded systems can include the following characteristics:typically, consist of hardware, software and firmware;can be embedded in a larger system to perform a specific function, as they are built for specialized tasks within the system, not various tasks; can be either microprocessor-based or microcontroller-based — both are integrated circuits that give the system compute power;are often used for sensing and real-time computing in internet of things (IoT) devices, which are devices that are internet-connected and do not require a user to operate;can vary in complexity and in function, which affects the type of software, firmware and hardware they use; andare often required to perform their function under a time constraint to keep the larger system functioning properly.Structure of embedded systems.

Embedded systems vary in complexity but, generally, consist of three main elements:Very large-scale integration, or VLSI, is a term that describes the complexity of an integrated circuit (IC).

When the OS and all OS services run in kernel space, applying an OS service patch requires a full OS install, OS refresh, and a full system reboot—all of which increase the scope of testing and the time to deploy.In comparison, the architecture of a microkernel OS, such as the QNX ® Neutrino® Real-Time Operating System (RTOS), makes embedded software updates much easier.

The final key component of an embedded system is a real-time operating system, which most but not all systems have.

Basic Structure of an Embedded System

The following illustration shows the basic structure of an embedded system −embedded systems

Sensor− It measures the physical quantity and converts it to an electrical signal which can be read by an observer or by any electronic instrument like an A2D converter. A sensor stores the measured quantity to the memory.

A-D Converter− An analog-to-digital converter converts the analog signal sent by the sensor into a digital signal.

Processor & ASICs− Processors process the data to measure the output and store it to the memory.

D-A Converter− A digital-to-analog converter converts the digital data fed by the processor to analog data

Actuator− An actuator compares the output given by the D-A Converter to the actual (expected) output stored in it and stores the approved output.

Key features of an Embedded System

This type of system are typically designed to perform a single repeated function, although it’s true that some can be designed to control the entirety of an operating system. However, regardless of the function involved, they will very rarely be required to do anything more than this task – this makes it an exceptionally reliable component.

They’re described as ‘embedded’ because the component is fixed, and is critical to the overall operation of the system. Those that aren’t critical are described as modular, and can be swapped in and out to allow for new functionality.

Embedded systems are also characterised by their reactive nature. They communicate entirely through sensors or actuators, and if the right response isn’t provided in real-time, the response is considered incorrect and they will not function.

Examples of ES

Examples of embedded systems aren’t hard to find – chances are that you interact with at least a few of such devices on a daily basis. This is because embedded systems are seen in an overwhelming majority of consumer products, from something as small as your Fitbit watch, to your home’s central heating system.

Imagine a typical morning: you are woken up by your alarm clock and make your way to the kitchen, where you set your smart coffee machine to make you an espresso and throw some clothes in the washing machine. You take your car to work, and check the best route according to your GPS navigation system. During lunch break, you heat up your meal in the office microwave. An electronic calculator helps you work out some numbers which you need for a work report, which is in turn sent to your boss thanks to the Wi-Fi provided by your office router. At the end of the day, you check your watch to see whether you can get away with leaving five minutes early. On the way home, you stop by the gym, where your fitness tracker helps you determine your heart rate and the number of calories burnt during your workout. At home, you find some time at the end of the day to play video games on your console because, apparently, it can help level up your career.

All of the devices mentioned above are examples of embedded systems in everyday life. Although they might have different uses and are often sold in different stores, the mechanics behind them are actually pretty similar.

What Embedded Systems Are in A Car?

Source: (bluefruit.co.uk)

Have you ever wondered what embedded systems are in a car? We take a look at the embedded systems used in cars that shape driving today.


  • What embedded systems are there in a car?
  • 1. Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
  • 2. Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • 3. Adaptive Cruise Control System
  • 4. Drive-by-Wire
  • 5. Airbag Control Unit
  • 6. Telematics System
  • 7. Rain-Sensing System
  • 8. Automotive Night Vision System
  • 9. Climate Control System
  • 10. Blind-Spot Monitoring System
  • The Future of embedded systems in cars

Advantages of Embedded Systems

Easily Customizable

Low power consumption

Low cost

Enhanced performance

Source: tutorialspoint.com

Disadvantages of Embedded Systems

High development effort

Larger time to market

Source: tutorialspoint.com