What is an Embedded Software? Why it is different from Automotive and Firmware?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Embedded System Software is what makes your embedded system work, previously we have already talked about the embedded system. Now in this blog, we are going to discuss Emb Software, Firmware, Automotive Software and we will know the difference between them. So let’s start the journey, hope you will get something from this blog also.

Embedded Software

We use Embedded Software to carry out the operation of the Embedded System. These are the software we install on the Embedded System. In short embedded software works as a fuel to run an embedded system.

Embedded Software

This is a type of programming that works as a part of a microchip or as a part of another application that is already present on that chip. These software are for particular hardware as we cannot install them on every device as we do with application software.

Do you think Embedded Software is Firmware?
Let’s know the difference between the Embedded software and Firmware and remove the conflict but before that let’s know what is Firmware.

What is Firmware?

Firmware is a software program or set of instructions programmed on a hardware device. It provides the necessary instructions for how the device communicates with the other computer hardware.
Firmware is a specific type of computer software that provides low-level control for a device’s specific hardware. In simple words it a software program on the hardware device which performs functions like basic input/output.


Firmware stores in the flash ROM of a hardware device. While ROM is “read-only memory,” flash ROM is erasable and can be rewritten because it is a type of flash memory.

So this is the firmware, now these are some points which make differences between Firmware and Embedded Software.

What is the difference between Firmware and Embedded Software?

  1. Firmware is a layer of software on top of which operating systems and other applications run whereas Emb software is software that is capable of running the entire system which might or might not include an Operating system.
  2. Firmware is usually present in general-purpose computing devices like smartphones, PCs, laptops, etc. Emb software is usually present on special-purpose computing devices like Embedded Systems.
  3. Firmware is not the only software that runs on the system whereas Emb software is the only software that runs on the system.
  4. Firmware is the software that comes with a computer motherboard while Emb Software is the software that runs an mp3 player.

Now, do you think Embedded software is the same as Embedded systems?

No, it’s not.

Embedded System is the collection of components that are run using Embedded Software. Embedded Software just works as an input for the Embedded System to perform the operation. Some hardware components present in embedded systems are power supply circuits, central processing units, flash memory devices, sensors, timers, and serial communication ports.

Embedded software is designed from scratch to run only on that hardware for which it is developed.
The embedded software is developed based on the particular design of the device or the embedded system so that it can perform operations for that particular hardware.
So as I already told you embedded software works as fuel to run the embedded systems.

Read about one more interesting topic.

Have you heard about the Automotive Embedded Software ??

  • Automotive Embedded Software is the embedded software that is particularly developed for the embedded systems present inside the automobile(vehicle).
  • The most commonly used embedded system in a vehicle includes adaptive cruise control, airbag, in-vehicle entertainment system, parking system, navigation systems, sensors, climate control, radio, anti-lock braking system, etc.
  • These software keep vehicle safe and comfortable.

Why is an Automotive Software Application different?

Automotive Embedded software applications are quite different from typical Embedded Software Applications that we use on smart devices such as phones, gadgets, etc. As automotive embedded application works for designing the software for the automobile industry.

Automotice Software

Automobile Embedded Software provides multiple applications such as braking, steering, suspension, power-train, body-electronics, etc. which all are extremely crucial. No single automotive embedded software application performs on its own, it is always part of a much bigger system of systems.

Common examples of embedded software application:

  • Anti-lock braking systems
  • Transportation systems from flight to automobiles increasingly use embedded software’s
  • Motion detection systems in security cameras
  • Traffic control systems found in traffic lights
  •  Automotive, home appliances, medical, telecommunication, commercial, and military applications

Let’s know a little more about the Embedded System

What are the different types of Embedded Systems?

Embedded systems can be classified based on:

  1. Performance and Functional requirements
  2. Performance of the Micro-controller
Embedded System Types

A basic example of an embedded system that I think we all have seen or used

Embedded Software inside the MP3 player
We all have come across this mp3 player which we use to play music in mp3 format only. This device has 5 buttons, one for play/stop the music, 2 buttons for making volume up and down, and 2 buttons for forward and backward the song. This was also having a USB port for charging the device.


Compared to devices like smartphones, the job of mp3 players is very simple which is to play music! This system was using flash memory to store the songs. The whole system was an embedded system and the software present inside it was embedded software. Like this only there are many applications of embedded you can notice around you.

This is the end of this blog where we discuss various topics. I hope now you are clear with the concepts which were confusing before. For more embedded related blogs click here.

If you want to read more content like this?  Subscribe to Rust Times Newsletter and receive insights and latest updates, bi-weekly, straight into your inbox. Subscribe to Rust Times Newsletter: https://bit.ly/2Vdlld7.

Written by 

Nitin is a Software Consultant, with experience of more than 1.4 years. He works on Rust Programming Language and Embedded Development using Rust. He is also fond of Java Programming & Artificial Intelligence. Apart from that, his hobbies are Watching Netflix, Reading, Singing & Writing.