Without the embedded system design services provided by various development teams, our daily life would certainly be less comfortable. Most items we use every day have built-in software that determines their functionality and relevance. Therefore, it is not surprising that the embedded software development process is constantly improving. Sirin Software offers a behind-the-scenes look at the embedded system design process to better understand how the devices we use work.
Embedded System Design: Short Review
To get a more complete understanding of the development process of embedded systems, we need to start with a few words about what they are. An embedded system is a specialized computer system used to perform a small number of specific functions. It is a combination of software and hardware elements that are part of the overall system of the device.
Embedded systems have some distinctive features:
- programmed to perform a small range of functions (no more than 1-2);
- controlled by an integrated system;
- a wide range of uses – embedded system design examples include portable user devices, household appliances, and large units that are used in industry.
The embedded software development process is an example of collaboration between different groups of participants. This group usually includes:
- firmware developers whose main task is to ensure the smooth operation of devices after installing firmware;
- suppliers of individual components for embedded systems – controllers, microprocessors, various sensors, etc;
- manufacturers of devices the embedded system will be integrated in – household appliances, automobiles, industrial equipment, etc.
The embedded software development process is quite complex. Therefore, high requirements are put forward for developers who work with embedded systems.
Main Stages of Embedded System Design Process
The entire process of working on the design of embedded systems can be thought of as a chain of interconnected steps.
Some stages can be combined. The essence of each of these steps in the embedded product development process can be described as follows:
- Abstraction. This stage can also be defined as developing the idea or basic concept of a future system product. Before starting work, we determine the essence of the problem, create the plan for future work, draw up a specification for all components of the future device.
- Development of project layout. After all the client’s requirements have been studied and the necessary documentation drawn up, you can proceed to creating the embedded system diagram. It is at this stage of the embedded software development process that components for the future system are chosen, namely microcontrollers and other physical components.
- Development of software architecture. At this stage of embedded product development, developers choose the tools and programming languages that will satisfy the system requirements of the project. A printed circuit board and a prototype of the system are created. The printed circuit board provides the necessary functionality for the embedded system. The prototype involves checking the operation of the system with all its constituent components.
- Firmware development. At this stage of the embedded software development process, engineers integrate the previously developed software with the mechanical components of the future device. This stage is one of the most laborious, since it is here that developers write the code to ensure the operation of the system hardware components.
- Testing. After the main steps have been taken to create the physical and software components of the embedded system, we check its operation in conditions close to real. Only after all the necessary tests have been carried out and errors have been eliminated, the project can be transferred to the customer.
The entire embedded software development life cycle is interconnected. The number of stages and the specifics may vary – it all depends on the complexity of the project and the customer’s requirements.
Embedded Software Development Process: Main Requirements
To provide embedded systems with the necessary functionality and efficiency, at all stages of the embedded software development life cycle developers have to adhere to a number of mandatory requirements:
- Establishing joint work of hardware and software components of the system. The hardware components are not capable of performing the declared functions without the appropriate software. Likewise, the operation of software cannot be realized without a mechanical basis. Embedded system design examples confirm that effective operation of an embedded system is only possible if installed software is fully integrated with installed controllers, microprocessors, and other hardware components.
- Security. The functioning of the entire embedded system is impossible without an integrated hardware safety module. Integration of TPM and HSM modules, as confirmed by some embedded system design examples, ensures the integrity and efficiency of the entire embedded system.
- The sequence of embedded software development life cycle stage implementation. Omitting a stage can affect the further work of the embedded system. The main attention should be on testing the operation of all constituent components of the system. A mandatory requirement is adhering to approved specifications, which include not only customer’s requirements, but also the basic standards of work on a project.
Strict adherence to all the requirements of embedded product development will make it possible to create a high-quality, reliable embedded system.
Embedded System Design: Possible Issues
Since many embedded systems have a complex embedded software development life cycle, some bugs can occur. The most common problems include:
- unclear project requirements, which lead to spending a lot of time on finalizing individual components of the embedded system design process;
- selection of inappropriate tools that do not fit the purpose of the project;
- ill-considered distribution of budget, time and human resources, which leads to delay in the delivery of the project;
- lack of communication between the team and the customer.
Many embedded system design examples, unfortunately, indicate that developers often make these mistakes.
At Sirin Software you will find a team of experienced developers to help you with projects of any complexity. Our specialists have the necessary knowledge and experience to carry out the embedded system design process from the idea to the final delivery of the project. Contact our experts and implement your embedded system design project today!