Question: With repspect to roadmaps, for a long time, Atmel only released road-maps to preferred customers. Maybe this is still their policy as I've never seen one publically available. For me, rather than forcasting the future, I use them to see how the manufacturer concieves of the relationships among their products and what the potential upgrade paths are. Having the roadmap makes the system designer's life a LOT easier, even if you are a small customer.
I agree. It is unfortunate that roadmaps for future products are often kept confidential by many microcontroller vendors. However, you can still judge the feasibility of a microcontroller product line by looking at a roadmap of existing products.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.