Embedded systems are a central component of technology products, e.g., in transportation, medical technology, or automation. In addition, they are usually interconnected with each other and increasingly open (e.g., towards the Internet). Embedded systems are found as control units, as groups of control units, as groups of control units in a system (e.g., an airplane), and as stand-alone systems, which includes being embedded in their operating systems. The latter are also called “Cyber-Physical Systems”. The German economy continues to be characterized to a large extent by companies whose roots are in mechanical or electrical engineering. These industries include, for example, the automotive industry, mechanical and plant engineering, as well as medical technology. Most of the product innovations and USPs of products “Made in Germany” are a result of the integration of embedded systems. Since all high-tech areas are dependent on embedded systems, these systems have great importance for the economy.
Overall, it is to be expected that the market for applied research in the area of embedded systems will continue to grow. The current developments towards cyber-physical systems will generate a great need for research in embedded systems. The major industries that exist in Europe and particularly in Germany will ensure that the market will not shift to other regions. In order to give due consideration to this development and its significance for the German and European industry, the Fraunhofer ICT Group initiated the founding of a Fraunhofer Alliance Embedded Systems, which was confirmed in 2010 by the Executive Board of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and which in the meanwhile has grown to encompass 12 member institutes.