Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are enabling technologies which bring the virtual and physical worlds together to create a truly networked world in which intelligent objects communicate and interact with each other.
Cyber-physical systems and advanced sensor networks represent the next evolutionary step from existing embedded systems. Together with the internet and the data and services available online, embedded systems join to form cyber-physical systems.
Cyber-physical systems provide the basis the creation of an Internet of Things which makes smart services and products possible. They are "enabling technologies" which make multiple innovative applications and processes a reality as the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds disappear. As such, they promise to revolutionize our interactions with the physical world in much the same way that the internet has transformed personal communication and interaction.
The interplay between high performance software-based embedded systems and dedicated user interfaces integrated into digital networks creates a completely new world of system functionality. Modern mobile telephones are perhaps the most obvious example of this; offering as they do a complete bundle of applications and services which completely outstrip the device’s original telephony function.
Sensor technology advances made possible by initiatives like the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s "AUTONOMIK für Industrie 4.0" program are improving information-capture capabilities for improved modeling.
Cyber-physical systems also represent a paradigm break from existing business and market models, as revolutionary new applications, service providers and value chains become possible. Industry sectors including the automotive industry, the energy economy and health care, for example, will in turn be transformed by these new value chain models.
In the future, cyber-physical systems will make contributions to human security, efficiency, comfort and health in ways not previously imaginable. In doing so, they will play a central part in addressing the fundamental challenges posed by demographic change, scarcity of natural resources, sustainable mobility, and energy change.
Ideal Model of the Layers of a Cyber-Physical System | © acatech