Nowadays, more and more products with embedded control system appear in the markets and enter people’s daily life. Aircraft can fly on autopilot and avoid collision; smart collision avoidance systems in automotive alert drivers to nearby vehicles and even take emergency evasive action. Control system implementation is moving from hardware to embedded software due to the enormous growth of the processing power of embedded microprocessor. For instance, today’s modern cars contain dozens of microprocessors that may run 100millions lines of code for the purpose of delivering hundreds of functions to drivers and passengers. More often it is the software, rather than electronics, that makes a product stand out and determines the market winners. The inherent flexibility of software offers lots of opportunities to develop additional control functions, enabling manufacturers to create innovative products to meet customer expectations. By enabling seemingly boundless product functionality, software has taken center stage in all kinds of products, enabling many new kinds of interconnections between parts of the product and between the product and it environment. More connections create exponential increases in system complexity. This new development trend creates additional challenges for controls engineers.
There are many challenges for embedded control systems development. Expertise in multiple technical fields is needed, including electronics and software engineering. As software driven functionalities become the focal point, you have to get your hardware and software teams to work together really well. There are others issues controls engineers are facing today. More and more development teams are located in different places around the world; effectively managing distributed teams to ensure efficient, accurate and cooperative results becomes an issue. As customer demand for new control functions shortens the service life of even the best products, shrinking the product development life cycle to make sure you hit the market at the right time is a challenge. Changing customer needs, dynamic market conditions, and reprioritized corporate goals all cause the changes in product requirements. Adapting to ever-changing requirements presents a challenge to controls engineer. In some industries, for example aerospace industry, products are required to meet government regulatory and industry standards. Ensuring compliance of control products is also an issue to be addressed.