It has already become a tradition for us to attend Embedded World every year. It is an absolute pleasure to be able to visit Nuremberg and catch up on the latest embedded news. The Embedded World show is back in full swing following the pandemic freeze – although some top semiconductor players were missing, the exhibitor and visitor count was much higher than last year. What caught our attention this time? Piotr Strzalkowski, our embedded expert, covers the story.
A key buzzword of the fair was moving away from bare metal solutions to using RTOSs (real-time operating systems), which guarantee flexibility and speed of implementation. Embedded markets today are ripe with component availability problems, developer shortages, and ever-increasing time-to-market demands. This approach is perfectly suited to these realities.
Cybersecurity is a constant and growing concern for embedded solutions – from highly-sophisticated systems for automotive or any SIL project to all sorts of personal IoT gadgets. Moreover, security isn’t just about software but also about hardware. Some speakers noted that hardware security flaws could be much more severe for businesses than software ones since they cost more. It is not about silicon errors here, but instead failing to consider the possibility of changing encryption mechanisms to stronger ones during hardware design, should the algorithm be broken during product development.
It’s no secret that RUST programming language has constantly fought with the other embedded programming languages for its share of the pie. The language seems to be doing well now that a commercial compiler from Hitech supports it. Seeing the increasing complexity of its systems, the automotive industry is looking for alternatives to C and C++, and RUST-based projects have taken off as a result. A noteworthy feature of RUST programming language is that it can integrate with C and C++ code. This allows C-based projects to be slowly converted into RUST, gradually reducing the technology debt associated with the C language. How will RUST programming language fare in the future? Will it share the fate of languages like ADA? As of now, it seems to be trending upwards.
The inclusion of AI – artificial intelligence – in embedded systems has become a standard component, and sensors with embedded neural networks or cameras that recognize and track objects are no longer surprising. The subject of AI – artificial intelligence – testing and the attempt to apply such solutions to safety-critical systems may be of interest – testers will have a tough time tackling this. They will be responsible for proving that an AI algorithm was implemented correctly and has a low (design-relevant) defect rate. The good news is that research is already underway on these topics. Some time will probably pass before we see AI software development and testing standards. You can read more about the use of AI in embedded systems in my article on the future of embedded and trends for 2023.
This year’s Embedded World 2023 shows that embedded technology is doing well. Many challenges lie ahead, both in development and testing. Changes currently underway will have a major impact on the quality of the software we produce and, therefore, the security of the solutions we create. Given the plethora of updated regulations such as R155 and R156 for automotive), we are in for some riveting times.