What are Embedded Systems?
Embedded systems are information processing systems that are integrated into a technical context. They are usually not consciously perceived by the user as independent computers, since they are integrated into a larger product. The ongoing miniaturisation is creating new areas of application in which computers formerly visible as mainframe or PC disappear from perception and are replaced by ubiquitous computing. Within complex products such as vehicles, we now usually find a number of embedded systems that are networked and interact.
What economic significance do embedded systems have?
In Germany, embedded systems achieved sales of 17 billion euros in 2010, with estimates predicting growth to 40 billion by 2020. The suppliers of embedded systems employ around 40,000 people (primarily electrical engineers and technical computer scientists). In addition, another 250,000 employees work in user industries that integrate embedded systems into products and develop individual software for the respective application scenario .
What requirements do embedded systems have?
In addition to the functional requirements of information processing for the respective application, non-functional requirements in particular must also be implemented for embedded systems. These include:
- Real-time requirements
- Reliability, availability, servicability, safety
- Weight, size, energy consumption
- Memory requirements, computing requirements
- Reliable real-time communication
- Combination of digital, analog and hybrid operating principles
How important is the complexity of embedded software?
More and more complex systems require more and more complex software. It is estimated that 40% of the vehicle costs of today's new cars are determined by software and electronics. 90% of all innovations are in the field of electronics and software. Looking at development costs, 50-70% is accounted for by software development. Software packages with more than one million lines of programme code and up to 100 embedded, networked computer systems are built into today's vehicles. It is assumed that this complexity will increase significantly in the next few years, with strong system dependencies being observed .
Networking of Embedded Systems
The ever increasing penetration of the human environment by products with embedded information processing is accompanied by the coining of new terms for this trend. The Internet of Things (IoT) links the increasingly intelligent objects of daily life that are no longer perceived as computers in the classical sense. Wearables, sensors and actuators in a variety of forms communicate with each other. The term Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) illustrates the effect that the physical world merges with virtual cyberspace through the networking of many embedded systems. Intelligent power grids coordinate electricity producers and consumers in a decentralised manner. Motion profiles of vehicles are used for navigation instructions to coordinate traffic. As Industry 4.0, the networking of means of production and production goods serves the ever-increasing configurability of the end product up to individual production integrated into the business processes of the customer.
Embedded Systems Technology Lab
The EST Laboratory of the Department of Computer Science is used for teaching and projects related to embedded systems. The laboratory with its equipment is used in particular for courses of the dual Bachelor's degree programme KESS and the specialisation Technical and Graphic Systems in the Master's degree programme. In the practical courses the understanding of the requirements for software development in the embedded area is acquired. In the open laboratory concept, the course contents can be worked on in preparation. In student projects, students deepen their knowledge while gaining experience of working in a team.
 Manfred Broy (Hrsg.), „Cyber-physical Systems – Innovation durch softwareintensive eingebettete Systeme”, Springer Verlag, 2011, ISBN 9783642149016
 Karsten Berns, Bernd Schürmann, Mario Trapp, „Eingebettete Systeme – Systemgrundlagen und Entwicklung eingebetteter Software“, Vieweg+Teubner Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-8348-0422-8