Cyber-physical systems (CPS) is a rapidly growing information technology concept, which already has a completely intelligible definition, but continues to expand and cover all new horizons of application. One thing is obviously – such systems consist of connected physical and computing components and function at the interface of the real and virtual worlds, ensuring interaction and effective management of a variety of technologies – smart cities, automated production management systems, energy, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and others.
The development of the high-tech industry makes it possible to create and develop a synergy of computing and physical components, united into unified systems, which are designed to effectively and quickly solve wider range of social and technical problems, making the human environment simpler, safer and more comfortable. Smart City, smart buildings, digitalization of the manufacturing sector – these are all examples of implemented cyber-physical systems that are becoming more complex and versatile every day.
Modern world is on the borderline of a qualitative transition from the era of industrial progress to a new cyber-era of human development, because the number of a wide variety of gadgets, digital systems and services is constantly growing. Following a person who does not let go of a smartphone at all, the world around him is becoming more digital: objects surrounding a person are increasingly supplied with sensors, NFC tags, QR codes and other interfaces of human interaction with the Internet space. A huge number of devices that we use every day are capable of storing and processing information and are ready to integrate and interact with other components within a single system.
The development of the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT), where different technical devices interact with each other through the Internet, surrounds us with an increasing number of familiar household appliances that are equipped with 5G and Wi-Fi communication modules. Digital giants – one after another – are creating voice assistants based on deep machine learning and artificial intelligence, including Russian market. Every month 45 million people turn to Alice from Yandex. And sales of speakers with an installed voice assistant grew 8 times in Russia in 2019.
The amount of data that modern CPSs operate with has long been beyond the cognitive abilities of humans; our species simply does not have time to evolve at the rate of development of the modern digital world. From household implementation such as smart home systems that monitor the climate, security, save electricity and water, control lighting, carry out video surveillance, etc., the emergence of cyber-physical systems has made it possible to step into entire smart buildings and cities. CPS today are powerful multi-level systems operating Big Data – data of colossal volumes obtained from the Internet, social networks, search engines and because of analysis of other sources, including offline.
Artificial intelligence using deep machine learning is now being used to manage the infrastructure of smart cities. One of the first to receive this status was Singapore, where smart technologies are widely used in organizing urban traffic, unmanned vehicles have been put into operation, a system of interaction with the population has been created, including a special national digital identification system, in fact – electronic passports of citizens. The Los Angeles road network is equipped with smart traffic lights with cameras that record the level of traffic congestion. All of them are combined into a system that regulates traffic, redirecting traffic flows. Toshiba is applying CPS to a virtual power plant project, using IoT to coordinate multiple power plants using different energy sources: solar, wind and water, and energy storage systems, distributing it based on consumption. A large-scale project Smart City Cologne has been launched in Cologne, Germany, focusing on “12 smart city solutions”, including energy efficient buildings, smart energy distribution, low emission heating, integrated smart lighting, Big Data control and solutions for sustainable urban mobility.
There is also another way when smart cities are being built from scratch. A good example of such projects is the joint brainchild of China and Singapore, the Tianjin Eco City project or the city of Masdar in the UAE, where smart energy standards laid down at the project stage will dramatically reduce costs through the use of renewable energy sources and modern multi-level control systems for its distribution.
Cyber-physical systems are being implemented everywhere in technologically developed regions, and smart production is becoming one of the most active vectors of their development. Modern industrial complexes reduce the use of manual labor and give preference to high-tech industrial robots, the use of network information technologies, cloud storage and data processing services, to which every component of the system has continuous network access in real time, which allows you to adjust production processes in midair, repeatedly reducing production costs and increasing its efficiency. A great example is the famous case of Harley Davidson, where the production cycle was reduced to 6 hours from 21 days after the implementation of smart manufacturing standards, which ultimately increased the company’s shareholder value by 7 times.
The era of automation at the level of individual units and separate processes is being replaced by Industry 4.0, towards which modern industry inevitably strives, combining all elements of production into a single digital ecosystem where not only the components of a single factory, but also related industries, transport and service companies. For example, Norfolk Southern has launched a rail monitoring and congestion reduction program that aims to achieve $ 200 million in savings by changing train speeds of just 1 mph on average.
The exponential growth of proportions of high-tech solutions, the introduction of the latest standards for broadband data transmission channels, the development of artificial intelligence and deep machine learning in the coming years will lead to fundamental changes in the development trends of production, urban planning industry, medicine, transport and energy systems and principles of public administration. And these changes are of particular importance against the backdrop of the fight against the global pandemic and its economic and social consequences.