About embedded systems

Embedded systems are omnipresent in today’s computer-controlled world. They are at the heart of most high-tech products and applications and represent one of the fastest growing global markets. New products and services based on embedded systems technology are emerging every day, making state-of-the-art design and engineering competences for new products and applications a key competitive discriminator.

Economic interest

The Dutch high-tech industrial sector is at the forefront of Dutch national economy, with strong growth in a number of applied technologies such as medical equipment, semiconductor manufacturing, robotics, printing, logistics, consumer and lifestyle equipment, mobility applications and many more.

Societal interest

The relevance of embedded systems know-how and capabilities does not limit itself to industrial products. Embedded technologies are also a main driver for societal, social and environment-friendly innovations, such as for healthcare diagnostics, traffic management, security infrastructure and environmental provisions.

What are embedded systems?

Basically, we define embedded systems as integrated hardware/software systems (computer technology, software, semiconductors , control, actuators, sensors, etc.) built into systems and devices that are not necessarily recognised as computerised devices or computers. Embedded systems comprise platforms of hardware and software that allow decision power and intelligence to be added to almost any product, system, infrastructure or service. As a result, embedded systems control and define the functionality and quality of these products and applications.

Embedded systems are typically not monolithic and may comprise of multiple processing units and sub-systems connected through buses, wired/wireless networks and/or telecom infrastructures. The size of the system components ranges from tiny battery-powered intelligent sensors and actuators, to large multiple-rack computing devices, or even highly complex cyber-physical system configurations.

Embedded systems engineering

The design of embedded systems applications is intrinsically a multi-disciplinary activity, requiring skills from computer science, electronics, communication technology, mechatronics and control, as well as a thorough understanding of- and interaction with the application field in which these systems are being deployed.

Innovation drivers

Key innovation drivers for today's
high-tech and embedded systems

Function

Adaptable systems, functional capabilities

Use

Optimised usability, human factors

Data

Strong growth of information content

Costs

Design / engineering / manufacturing / material cost

Performance

Performance / real-time information processing

Power

Low power utilisation

Environment

Low environmental load

Dimensions

Smaller / light-weight products

Reliability

No downtime, safe to use

Security

Instrusion / misuse / sabotage protection

State-of-the-art

Incorporation of latest technologies

Integration

Easy / fast composition of systems or applications

Interoperability

System-of-system cooperation / inter-operability