Navigating the Challenges of Cyberphysical System Design

by | April 27, 2023

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In today’s ever-connected world, cyberphysical systems (CPS) have become the driving force behind groundbreaking innovations. These systems are transforming various industries and redefining the way we interact with our environment.

Nonetheless, creating CPS can be an arduous undertaking. It requires a multidisciplinary approach that integrates hardware and software components, real-time performance, safety, and regulatory compliance. 

If you’re ready to tackle a CPS project, the first step is to understand what a cyberphysical system is. Having a good understanding of the technology will enable to formulate strategies to overcome the hurdles you might face when working on CPS projects. With the right approach, you can create transformative products that changes the way we live and work.

What are Cyberphysical systems? 

When discussing cyber physical systems, people often wonder if they’re the same thing as embedded systems. To clear things up, let’s use a simple analogy: all elephants are mammals, but not all mammals are elephants. Similarly, all cyber physical systems are embedded systems, but not all embedded systems are cyber physical systems. 

Embedded systems refer to computers that are integrated into other devices to perform specific functions. 

In contrast, cyber physical systems go a step further by tightly intertwining computation, networking, and physical processes.  

These systems use sensors, actuators, processors, and networks to monitor and control physical processes, while also using algorithms and feedback loops to make decisions and respond to changes in the environment. They provide real-time monitoring, control, and adaptation. Examples of CPS include smart grids, smart factories, surveillance drones, autonomous vehicles, and medical monitoring systems. 

Here is a summary table that compares cyber physical systems and embedded systems: 


Feature  Cyberphysical system Embedded system
Definition Integration of computation, networking, and physical processes Dedicated computing systems for specific tasks or functions
Scope and Complexity High complexity due to the interaction and coordination of multiple components  Lower complexity, focused on a specific task or function
Networking and Communication Require sophisticated networking and communication capabilities May or may not have networking or communication capabilities
Adaptability Highly adaptable to changes in environment and system requirements. Limited adaptability, more static and deterministic behaviour


When designing a cyber-physical system, it is crucial to model the system around certain ideal characteristics to ensure its optimal performance and desired outcomes. These characteristics include: 


  • Autonomy: The system should be able to operate independently, making decisions and executing tasks with minimal human intervention.
  • Stability: The system must maintain consistent operation, even under varying conditions, and be able to return to a stable state after disturbances.
  • Robustness: The system should be resilient against disturbances, faults, and errors, maintaining its functionality and performance despite adverse conditions.
  • Efficiency: The system should optimize its resource usage, including energy, time, and computational power, to deliver the desired performance.
  • Scalability: The system should be designed to handle increasing demands, such as workload or the number of users, by expanding its capabilities and resources.
  • Safety: The system must operate without causing harm to people, property, or the environment, while also protecting its components from external threats.
  • Reliability: The system should consistently operate without failures, ensuring its availability and dependability for users.
  • Accuracy: The system must provide high-precision data analysis to make informed decisions and effectively control physical processes.
  • Communicative: The system should facilitate efficient communication between its components, as well as with external systems and users, enabling seamless information exchange and collaboration.

Learn more about cyberphysical systems and how they are changing the world. Contact us today!