The Importance of Embedded Systems in Electronics Industry

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Thanks to embedded systems, we can enjoy the convenience of using numerous electronic devices. While these are unseen components, they play a crucial role in our day-to-day lives.

Embedded systems refer to specialised computing systems that allow dedicated functionalities to perform within larger systems. As their name suggests, they are embedded into the devices they control and often feature a combined hardware and software tailored to the devices’ specific tasks.

This article is about the importance of embedded systems in the electronics industry and how they seamlessly blend into the gadgets and devices we use daily, enhance their functionality, and transform how we interact with technology.

1. Embedded Systems in Automotive Vehicles

Embedded systems have crucial roles in modern automotive vehicles, contributing to the various aspects of a vehicle’s functionality, safety, and performance. These systems refer to specialised computing systems dedicated to helping specific vehicle components to function. One of these components is the Transmission Control Unit or TCU. Embedded systems control the vehicle’s automatic and semi-automatic transmissions to ensure smooth gear changes and optimal performance.

The vehicle’s engine relies heavily on embedded systems for fuel injection, precise control, ignition timing, and other parameters. Another crucial component that relies on embedded systems is the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). The embedded system’s role is to monitor wheel speed and modulate the brake pressure to prevent wheel lock-up in case of heavy braking while improving overall vehicle safety and control. 

Embedded systems have significant roles in vehicle safety, including the airbag system. The systems are crucial for the deployment of airbags, where sensors assess factors, such as seatbelt usage and impact force, to determine how and when airbags will deploy during a collision.

The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS is another vehicle component that benefits from embedded systems. It controls features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and more. ADAS rely on embedded sensors like radar and cameras to enhance driver safety and convenience.

2. Embedded Systems in Phones

Mobile phones are among the electronics that rely heavily on embedded systems to deliver numerous features and functionalities to users. Embedded systems help optimise the phone’s performance, manage power consumption, and enable the functionalities of various applications on mobile phones.

Mobile phones have powerful processors and System-on-Chip (SoC). These refer to embedded systems that integrate various components in a mobile phone, such as the graphics processing unit (GPU) and central processing unit (CPU), memory, and other essential features. These embedded systems help to ensure fast and efficient processing of tasks. 

Like computers, mobile phones have an Operating System (OS), such as iOS or Android. It’s a complex embedded system that manages hardware resources and facilitates communication and integration of applications. The OS also plays a crucial role in the overall mobile phone functionality and user experience.

Embedded systems also help with power management by controlling power consumption and features like dynamic voltage scaling, sleep modes, and power optimisation techniques. In addition, they control various communication modules in the mobile phone, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular connectivity. These features enable users to use their phones for messaging, voice calls, internet browsing, and other communication features.

3. Embedded Systems in Medical Equipment

The medical industry is among those industries that benefited from embedded systems, especially in manufacturing medical equipment used in various healthcare settings. Embedded systems enhance the equipment’s reliability, efficiency, and overall functionality. 

The Patient Monitoring Systems are among those medical devices that benefited greatly from embedded systems. These devices are integral for tracking a patient’s vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate. The embedded systems allow the device to process sensor data in real-time to provide healthcare professionals with timely and accurate information regarding the patient’s health condition.

The embedded systems are also crucial to the manufacturing of Diagnostic Imaging Equipment. These are some of the most critical devices used in healthcare, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, medical imaging devices like X-ray machines, computed tomography (CT) scanners, and ultrasound devices. These devices rely on embedded systems for control and image processing. Embedded systems also help to enhance the overall image quality, manage the equipment’s overall functionality, and enable advanced imaging techniques and in recent times there has been an increase in engineer recruitment involving embedded systems to maintain the advance in technology.

4. Embedded Systems in Industrial Machines

Embedded systems in industrial machines function by improving the reliability, functionality, and efficiency of various processes in the industrial setting. For one, embedded systems can make real-time monitoring and control of various industrial processes possible. In addition, they help regulate significant parameters, such as flow rates, temperature, pressure, and other variables, which ensure optimal product quality and efficient operation.

Another way in which industrial machines benefit from embedded systems is through automation and robotics. Robotic arms and automated manufacturing systems rely on embedded systems to precisely control tasks and movements, contributing to increased productivity, improved consistency in production, and reduced manual labour.

Embedded systems have also enabled condition monitoring for industrial machines, allowing for predictive maintenance. By constantly monitoring the equipment’s health and performance, the systems can predict potential issues before they can lead to a breakdown.

5. Embedded Systems in Security Systems

Embedded systems help enhance the security system’s overall functionality and effectiveness. They contribute to various aspects of security, from surveillance to access control. For video surveillance systems, IP cameras and video recorders have embedded systems for processing and compressing video feeds. The embedded system is also behind the functionality of motion detection, object tracking, and facial recognition.

Embedded systems are also useful for fire detection sensors and alarm control panels. They work by monitoring environmental conditions, detecting smoke or heat anomalies, and activating alarms to alert occupants of the fire. Furthermore, embedded systems integrate with other systems to enhance overall safety.

Embedded systems allow effective communication within different components, from access control panels to cameras and alarm systems. They also support communication protocols to allow for seamless integration. In addition, IP-based communication systems allow for remote control and monitoring of security devices.