What is an Embedded System?

Most of the gadgets we encounter daily are examples of embedded systems. On a regular morning, you have a cup of coffee from the vending machine. You start your automobile and drive through congested streets using GPS. When you hit the brake, the car comes to a complete stop - thanks to the anti-lock braking system (ABS). At the office, you use a calculator to check the balance sheet, and you send emails to your clients over WiFi that comes from a router. In the evening, your smartwatch says it's time to go home. You run in the evening, wearing a fitness tracker, and then wash your dirty clothes in a washing machine. Finally, at night you set an alarm for the next morning.

Guess what? All these devices that helped you are some examples of embedded systems.

What is an embedded system?

Embedded means “something is attached to something else”. An embedded system is a computer system that serves a specific purpose inside a larger mechanical or electrical component. Embedded systems control many items in regular usage today. Embedded systems are normally equipped with a processor and memory. However, they are much smaller and consume less power.

How Do Embedded Systems Work?

The combination of hardware and software allows the embedded system to fulfill its unique tasks. The embedded system hardware is usually a microprocessor or a microcontroller, and the software is installed in the hardware as firmware. Embedded systems perform extremely specific tasks. They're small and light, and they're embedded into the product in which they'll be used.

Embedded systems are classified into four groups based on their performance and functional requirements:

  • Real-time embedded systems.

  • Standalone embedded systems.

  • Network embedded system.

  • Mobile embedded systems.

Some characteristics of an embedded system

An embedded system often repeats a specialized operation. They are small enough to fit on a single chip and fast enough to analyze data in real time while consuming as little power as possible to extend battery life. Embedded systems are microcontroller-based and require memory since their software is usually stored in read-only memory (ROM). It does not require the installation of any more memory on the computer.

Many embedded systems must constantly respond to changes in their surroundings and compute specified outcomes in real time with no delays. A GPS in a car or on a plane, for example, should constantly track and react to location changes. It must compute quickly and repeatedly within a short time; a delayed computation can result in navigation failure.

Examples of embedded systems

Embedded systems can be found in a wide range of situations. They can be found in everything from medical devices to automobiles, appliances, office equipment, cameras, MRI scanners, industrial control systems, etc. They are also employed in the military, aerospace, and telecommunications industries. Embedded devices in our everyday lives include pacemakers, printers, photocopiers; microwave ovens and washing machines; and mobile devices such as smartphones.

What are the benefits of an embedded system?

An embedded system is a system with a specific purpose that is usually part of a larger system. Embedded systems are a highly efficient method of controlling machinery. Embedded system devices are small, low-cost, easy to maintain, and excellent at repeating a specific operation. Embedded systems typically perform only one function, allowing them to run on very little power. They can easily be combined with other parts. Embedded systems in general are used to control a device or process, often assembled into the device itself. Embedded systems can be found in a variety of everyday items, such as cell phones, automobiles, and home appliances. Embedded systems can work alone or in tandem with other systems.

What are the components of an embedded system?

There are generally three parts to an embedded system. Hardware, software, and a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS). The RTOS defines the system's operations. It establishes the rules for the application program's execution.

Embedded systems are microcontroller-based, software-driven, real-time control systems. Embedded systems typically include a microprocessor, memory, and input/output peripherals. The microprocessor executes memory instructions that direct the system. The I/O peripherals of the system enable it to communicate with the outside world.


An embedded system is a small computer system that performs a specific function within a larger mechanical or electrical system. An embedded system is a set of hardware and software that work together to perform a specific task. The software is usually written in C or the assembly language, and the hardware is usually a microprocessor or microcontroller. Life without embedded system technology is unimaginable nowadays. Many electronic devices in the home and office, factory automation, and automotive systems use embedded systems technology.