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Innovative applications require more and more the use of complex embedded systems. So far, embedded systems run to a large extent with singlecore processors. These processors have constrained capacities and increasingly reach their physical limits. Rising technical requirements, e.g. faster processor speed or lower energy consumption, force the use of multicore processors.
In this sector, embedded systems are widely applied for industrial automation applications. They are used for hazard detecting systems, assembly line, monitoring systems and data collection systems. Embedded systems are also widely applied for industrial controls such as in smart sensors, special purpose controllers, networking and process controls. There is a growing need for agility and flexibility in the industrial environment, along with ensuring shorter product life cycles. Data acquisition systems, feedback control systems, and advanced sensors assist more and more in automation processes. Embedded systems are thus key drivers in the industrial landscape. Additional applications of embedded systems are logging, diagnostics, monitoring and controlling across diverse industrial environments such as for transportation of heavy equipment, industrial machinery and in the energy sector.
Today cars are equipped with roughly 80 to 120 embedded systems. These systems have various purposes such as safety, engine control, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), networking, or infotainment. Innovations such as car-to-car and car-to-road communication or autonomous driving will lead to increasing numbers of microcontroller units embedded in vehicles. This aids in security by providing features such as collision avoidance and helps to make intelligent decisions such as locating fuel stations. Embedded safety systems are for instance electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking systems and automatic four-wheel drive. Embedded systems in this sector are also used extensively in electric and hybrid vehicles for maximizing their efficiency and reducing pollution. Hybrid and electric vehicles use embedded systems e.g. for fuel efficiency and emission control, and the expected increase in adoption of these vehicles is expected to propel the market for embedded systems. These demanding applications require high processing power enabled by the deployment of embedded multicore systems.
Embedded systems in the telecommunication domain are largely used in networking devices such as routers, switches, bridges and networking gateways. Embedded telecommunication systems ensuring high-speed networking process data for already more than 3 billion people. Recent development such as the migration towards mobility and the surge of smart telecommunication devices are key drivers for this sector. Embedded systems in this domain are characterized by high performance and low or moderate energy and space requirements. A key challenge for original equipment manufacturers in the telecom industry is the continuously evolving technology, which requires equivalent upgrades to multi- and manycore devices.
Embedded systems enable vital advances in the healthcare segment in genetics, diagnosis and treatment. Such systems are used in therapeutic, imaging, health monitoring and implanted devices. Recently, medical embedded systems are becoming more and more popular. Embedded systems help to view unified medical records of the patient electronically. They also provide support for a range of equipment including electronic stethoscopes, cardiac equipment, and vital signs monitoring systems for the patients. Efficient embedded systems have even seeped into intricate procedures of surgeries. In this sector there is a strong need for superior quality embedded software as end-user products are highly safety critical, and thus raising the demand for reliable embedded software development tools.
Embedded systems are almost everywhere in modern aircrafts. The application of them in this segment is wide. Embedded systems are for instance deployed in satellite systems, navigation, radar, sonar, flight control systems, weather systems and aircraft management systems. Embedded systems in this domain have extremely high safety and reliability requirements under real-time constraints.
The Paradigm Shift from Singlecore to Multicore Processors
The growing demand for higher performance and power efficiency has led to the development of newer generations of embedded systems equipped with multicore technology. The so far used singlecore processors have reached their physical limits and increasingly struggle to meet current and future market needs. Embedded multicore systems enable higher levels of performance at lower power consumption compared to single cores. The demand for additional processing power and thus, for more cores in one processor is further facilitated by increasing connectivity and key trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 and cyber physical systems.
“Multicore processor software development projects are 4.5 times more expensive, have 25% longer schedules, and require almost 3 times as many software engineers.”*
* VDC Research, „Next Generation Embedded Hardware Architectures: Driving Onset of Project Delays, Costs Overruns, and Software Development Changes“ September 2010
Multicore Software Development Challenges
To fully exploit the hardware potential of multicore processors in embedded systems, adequate parallelization of your application is required. For this step, there are hardly any suitable automated software solutions. Thus, manual parallelization is often employed. This is extremely error-prone, costly, time-consuming, complex and requires profound knowledge about hardware platforms. Programming embedded multicore systems is one of the biggest challenges driven by increasing algorithm complexity, constantly evolving processor architectures, and increasing numbers of cores used. To stay innovative and competitive, leading companies change how parallel software is developed.
Master Multicore Challenges with emmtrix Technologies
emmtrix Technologies solves current challenges and provides automated parallel software development tools that significantly improve embedded multicore computing. The application of our tools for multicore projects creates outstanding benefits for companies, software developers and project managers.