Embedded systems are hardware/software systems built into devices that are not necessarily “recognized” as computerized devices, but these systems do control the functionality and perceived quality of these devices. Some specific examples of embedded systems include: controllers for the ABS of a car or the operation of its engine; the automatic pilot of an aircraft; the chip set and software within a set-top box for a digital TV; a pacemaker; chips within telecom switching equipment; ambient devices, and control systems embedded in process plants (including its sensors, actuators, control algorithms, filters, etc).
The importance of embedded systems is growing continuously. Exponentially increasing computing power (Moore’s law), ubiquitous connectivity and convergence of technology have resulted in hardware/software systems being embedded within everyday products and places. Already today 90% of computing devices are in Embedded Systems and not in PCs. The growth rate in embedded systems is more than 10% per annum and it is forecasted there will be over 40 billion devices (5 to 10 embedded devices per person on earth) worldwide by 2020. Today 20% of the value of each car is attributed to embedded electronics and this will increase to an average of 35-50% by 2020. Moreover, the value added to the final product by embedded software is often orders of magnitude higher than the cost of the embedded devices themselves.