Cyber-physical system (CPS) is the new generation of intelligent, digital systems composed of physical hardware capabilities and computing software techniques. Optimizing functionality, autonomy, reliability and safety, CPS is a major step for future technology that could change and improve lives for the better.
Designed to act like a network of multiple variables with both physical input and output considered, this smart network is one where the physical and virtual worlds merge. Falling under the embedded system category, CPS can interact seamlessly with real-world systems by means of computation, communication and control.
CPS is commonly characterized to be adaptive, robust and user-friendly, and will eventually lead to the advanced implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT). Like IoT, every cyber-physical system is designed to support real-time applications that can manage various environmental datasets.
Moreover, CPS and the digital twin (DT) model also share the same goal: having an integrated and compatible framework between physical and virtual landscapes. DT applies a comprehensive approach to CPS in features like cyber-physical mapping, closed-loop control and virtual representations.
With CPS’s huge potential in bringing about significant social benefits across domains, being able to design and build secure CPSs to deliver consistent and dependable action is of particular importance. A lot of cyber-physical systems are being used in manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and energy, among other industries.
CPS must have a fully integrated and connected private network that can remotely connect with other untrusted systems when necessary. The smartness of the network must be based on intelligent data available from big data analytics resulting from collected data of sensors and external devices. With the help of intelligent decision-making, the complete process of communication, control and computation will be delivered simultaneously.
By and large, every CPS is networked, has a strong sensing capability, has higher performance capability and can work in a real-time environment with highly predictable behavior, influencing risk mitigation and failure response effectively.
a. Robotics in smart manufacturing
Robots have become more sophisticated, with one of their main applications being within factories. In general, a robot is made from an embedded system tasked to communicate information between two components: a mechanical structure that is purpose-built to interact with its surroundings, and sensors to collect data from the environment. Together, these allow the robot to interact appropriately.
By tying together different subsystems, cyber-physical systems or embedded systems play a vital role in the functioning of almost every robot. As an example, within the Nokia Bell Labs architecture for smart manufacturing, you can combine intelligent networking with digital technologies to support innovative applications such as robots, sensors, tracking systems and smart tools with the highest security and reliability.
b. Intelligent traffic control and smart cars
Over the years, the number of vehicles on our roads has increased dramatically, which, in turn, has led to serious problems such as traffic jams and accidents. To address these challenges, intelligent traffic management systems have been built to effectively detect and reduce the overall density of traffic. These systems’ functions are based on several modern technologies, including wireless sensor networks (WSNs), surveillance cameras and IoT.
Huawei has worked closely with ecosystem partners to develop the Intelligent Traffic Management Solution (ITMS), supporting system integration on an open platform. As one of the largest industrial cities in Saudi Arabia, Yanbu deployed Huawei's ITMS in 2019.
The solution consists of three modules — Sharp Eyes, Powerful Brain and Intelligent and Simplified O&M. The first module replaces the traditional single functionality sensors with intelligent sensors to better detect violations and collect comprehensive traffic information, while the second module analyzes the data in real-time. The last module supports the end-to-end (E2E) multi-dimensional management.
To explain, the deployment of a cyber-physical system on an intelligent traffic control design connects various smart subsystems. Sensors can be integrated in the vehicle’s controller system and communicate via embedded telematics, sending command inquiries to perform desired actions through the actuators connected to the system.
Relevantly, smart cars of today and of the future will need artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing and other ICT technologies to achieve the deep integration of smart cyber-physical systems (hardware and software) for the necessary levels of safety and autonomy.
As an example, Qualcomm QCA7006AQ, a next-generation powerline communication (PLC) device, is designed to address the needs for electric vehicle (EV) charging station communications. It is compliant with the Home Plug Green PHY (HPGP) specification, which is the leading designation for implementing vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems. By integrating smart grids, vehicles can seamlessly authenticate on the network through Plug and Charge automated payments, coordinating the EV charge timing and direction of energy to and from the grid and home.
c. Smart solutions for energy demands
As we increase our use of technology services, networks and devices, the resultant energy consumption and emissions also surge. However, digital technologies can also be part of the solutions resolving such issues. Through cyber-physical systems, the scaling up of renewable energy markets, the support of smart power grids and smart metering for buildings, and the enabling of emissions reductions all become more feasible.
Ericsson’s Global Utilities Innovation Center is an integrated state-of-the art device testing lab where partner utilities and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) can test interoperability of their field and IoT devices over mission-critical networks. As a fully functional E2E operational lab, it contains a physical representation of a utility smart grid, enabling real-world demonstrations of E2E private networks operations across the power grid – from generation and transmission until distribution.
Moreover, 5G-ready Ericsson solutions will modernize enterprises’ current communication infrastructure to simplify the communication for Ooredoo’s oil and gas enterprise customers.
d. Advanced medical systems
Most medical systems use cyber-physical systems for real-time monitoring and remote sensing of patients' conditions. Through wearable sensors or non-intrusive environmental monitors, sub-optimal vital signs are recognized early and emergencies are responded to immediately. This leads to a higher quality of healthcare in hospitals, clinics or even at home, incorporating high-grade security, interoperability and high system assurance.
Improving people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation, the infrastructure provided by du and paired with Philips’ technological advancements will provide predictive analytics, data visualization and reporting capabilities to healthcare workers. This combination lets local health systems access critical patient information and make split-second life-saving decisions.
Assisting Saudi’s healthcare providers in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, stc launched the “Virtual Clinic” service, a clinical engagement provided through cloud computing solutions. This service offers a medical bag to measure the patient’s vital signs at their place of residence wherein a doctor is able to view and interpret results and provide medical advice accurately through a video call.
Etisalat also introduced its Business Edge Healthcare platform, offering a plethora of services dedicated to enhancing and empowering hospitals, ambulatory practices and medical staff with seamless, secure and practical solutions to better improve day-to-day operations.
Cyber-physical systems and embedded networks are projected to account for more than half of the value share in diverse sectors. One report estimates that the technical innovations of cyber-physical systems could find direct application in sectors, with the potential to grow over $80 trillion of economic output by 2025.