Introduction to Cyber-Physical Systems [1] : Introduction


A cyber-physical-system (CPS) is a collaboration of computational systems to control physical entities. Today these systems are found everywhere around us specially today where they can be found in automotive, chemical processes, civil infrastructure, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, and consumer appliances. Embedded systems is a generation of these systems where the focus is more on the computational power rather than the link between the computational systems and physical entities.
Unlike traditional embedded systems, most cyber-physical-systems are designed as an interacting network between physical inputs and outputs rather than standalone devices. On-going advances in engineering and science is improving the link between computational and physical elements increasing the adaptability, autonomy, efficiency, functionality, reliability, safety, and usability of cyber-physical systems. This will broaden the potential of cyber-physical systems in several dimensions, including: intervention (e.g., collision avoidance); precision (e.g., robotic surgery and nano-level manufacturing); operation in dangerous or inaccessible environments (e.g., search and rescue, firefighting, and deep-sea exploration); coordination (e.g., air traffic control, war fighting); efficiency (e.g., zero-net energy buildings); and augmentation of human capabilities (e.g., healthcare monitoring and delivery).

Mobile cyber-physical systems

Mobile CPS are cyber-physical-systems where mobility plays an important role. Examples of mobile physical systems include mobile robots and electronics transported by humans and animals whether for monitoring causes, health applications or entertainment. Smartphone platforms make ideal mobile cyber-physical systems for a number of reasons, including:
  • Presence of computational resources .
  • Multiple input/output systems ( touch screen / thermometer / light sensors / gyroscope /proximity sensors / microphones.
  • Multiple communication mechanisms, such as WiFi, 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth for interconnecting devices to either the Internet, or to other devices.

Design Concerns

A challenge in the development of embedded and cyber-physical systems is the gap between the various involved disciplines, like software and mechanical engineering. In a marketplace, where rapid innovation is essential, engineers from all disciplines need to be able to explore system designs collaboratively, allocating responsibilities to software and physical elements, and analyzing trade-offs between them. Recent advances show that coupling disciplines by using co-simulation, will allow disciplines to cooperate without enforcing new tools or design methods.