Real time embedded control processors are individual computing units which have been implemented into pieces of larger and far more complicated equipment such as vehicles of all sort (trucks, airplanes, boats, yachts etc.), then other computer peripherals, audio systems and military equipment and weapons. The control processors are said to be embedded because they are integrated into a piece of equipment which is not in itself considered a computer nor does it execute some computing functions.
Requirements of real time control
Whether they are invisible or visible to the user, the real-time control processors are nowadays widespread and incorporated into people’s daily life and actions. For example, an invisible real-time control processor can be found in vehicles: this is the ABS (automatic braking system) which holds the vehicle steady on the road and prevents it from skidding on the road. Also, a real-time control processor can be used to replace high cost, high maintenance and bulky components of a given system, while at the same time providing better functions at a lower expense. In other certain occurrences, the presence of a real-time control processor may be visible, for example, an autopilot on an aircraft. But in all aforementioned cases, this real-time control processor is still a part of a larger system. And because of the fact that it is a component of a greater system, and that system has its own requirements and operating capabilities, most of these systems limit the processor in regard to its size, then weight, cost, power or reliability. Simultaneously though, the real-time control processor is bound to deliver top performance, for these real time events are mostly external inputs to the system which is in need of a response within milliseconds. If the processor fails to deliver a response in such short time span, disaster may strike: the autopilot may not change the course of the aircraft accordingly and may misinform the pilot about altitude.