What is a real-time operating system (RTOS)?

A real-time operating system (RTOS) is a specialized operating system that handles tasks accurately and efficiently. Unlike general-purpose operating systems (GPOS) that prioritize user interaction and multitasking, RTOS are more focused on performing operations in real-time. As RTOS develops over time and technology advances, real-time performance continues to increase. After each upgrade iteration, the real-time operating system becomes more powerful and efficient, meeting the needs of industries such as the Internet of Things, medicine, and multimedia applications.

What is the key to RTOS?

RTOS systems are different from multitasking and flexible general-purpose operating systems (GPOS) such as Windows systems. RTOS handles tasks with higher real-time nature. The key to an RTOS is the ability to perform critical operations in a timely manner. The RTOS system ensures that workflows are completed at precise time points, making it an ideal choice for real-time applications, helping to effectively utilize system resources while maintaining high reliability and responsiveness.

Types of real-time operating systems

We can divide RTOS systems into three types based on real-time response level:

  1. Hard real-time operating system

Hardware real-time systems have very strict timing requirements. Tasks must be completed within time nodes to ensure the normal operation of critical applications. Failure to meet these deadlines may lead to system failure.

In order to implement hardware real-time system functions, RTOS uses dedicated algorithms to increase the priority of key tasks to ensure that key operations at time nodes receive the necessary resources and execute without time delays or interruptions.

Hardware real-time systems ensure program safety, reliability, and efficiency. Hardware real-time systems are used in aerospace, defense, automotive and industrial automation scenarios.

  1. Intermediate real-time operating system

In intermediate real-time systems, meeting task timing constraints is critical for most tasks because intermediate real-time systems directly affect system performance and reliability. However, these systems do not have catastrophic consequences if they miss certain tasks. These types of RTOS are used in various industries where timely response is very important, but if the response time is occasionally missed, it will not lead to serious failures or safety hazards.

What are the uses of real-time operating systems?

  1. Radar system

In military applications, RTOS enables radar scanning and tracking with minimal delay, enabling rapid response to dangerous models. With RTOS at its core, the radar system can accurately detect incoming objects, track their movement, and immediately provide critical information to workers. This real-time monitoring capability ensures that defense personnel can make necessary decisions quickly.

  1. Traffic control system

In the RTOS-based traffic control system, multiple sensors and radars are used to collect information about vehicle location and speed. The real-time operating system processes congestion information on streets and highways in real time to facilitate traffic managers to make adjustments.

  1. Multimedia system

Multimedia systems are designed to handle the transmission, storage and playback of files in data formats such as audio, video and images over computer networks. In these systems, RTOS can process and transmit data with minimal delay, ensuring that the device plays smoothly and synchronizes picture and voice information.