Breathing life into your systems
A “system” or, more specifically, an engineering system is usually a combination of hardware (mechanical, electrical) and software that is designed to perform certain tasks. e.g. a washing machine that washes cloths, a car that can be driven and carry passengers from place to place, an industry process that perform certain manufacturing operation like cutting, etc.
An “Automatic System” is a system that can be programmed to have certain, repetitive behavior. Many of such systems are in use in our daily life such as an automatic door that opens with the presence of a human, a washing machine that automatically wash and dry cloths with several program options, an automatic manufacturing that repeatedly perform complex actions endlessly with minimum effort from the operator.
It is now the time to point out that automatic and autonomous is not the same thing. While an automatic system may be able to perform task automatically with minimum level of effort from human, an autonomous system is superior in a way that it can perform the same task with even less degree of human intervention. An autonomous system usually capable of making decision on its own based on the real-time input information which makes it able to perform task entirely on its own even if the surrounding conditions are changing. A modern example of such system is the autonomous car which can, at a certain degree, drive and navigate itself through the complex/unforeseen traffic situation based on the onboard sensors and computers.
Lastly, while a system can be autonomous, it doesn’t always mean that it will be an intelligent system. Hence, software plays the key role to make decisions/actions that involve producing actions that are adaptive and even to evolve its own understanding of the problem based on the past experience.
Put it all together, the Intelligent Autonomous Systems encapsulate the vision for a better machine that will enhance our quality of life in the future. It is a combination of engineering, science and art where the level of outcome is only limited by the imagination.
"An autonomous robot"
(Original picture from Robo Cup, German Open 2010, by pinguin1961; retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/8rRsSP)