CPS are used whenever complex physical systems need to communicate with the digital world to enable their performance to be optimized and their efficiency to be enhanced. They are playing an increasingly important role in industrial process and production control (smart factory), in particular in the context of the IIoT. CPS are also used in today's energy supply, traffic control, and driver assistance as well as in many other areas.
Cyber-physical systems consist of objects featuring embedded software and electronics that are connected with each other or via the Internet to form a single networked system. They include sensors and components for moving or controlling a mechanism or system, so -called actuators linking the CPS to the outside world. The sensors enable the systems to acquire and process data. The data is subsequently made available to network-based services that use actuators to directly impact measures taken in the real world. This leads to the merging of the physical world and cyberspace into the Internet of Things.
Cyber-physical systems are used in industrial production to build up Internet-based architectures that facilitate remote control of stand-alone production systems. CPS are valuable tools in many other fields of application: Integrated with a smart grid, they control tomorrow’s power grid or traffic to make it safer and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.