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The growing complexity of today's embedded real-time systems demands new methods and tools to manage the problems of design, analysis, integration, and validation of complex systems. Focusing this issue, the present paper describes an object-oriented platform-based design process for real-time embedded systems. The proposed approach promotes a smooth transition from high-level RT-UML specification to the final embedded system, which is composed by hardware and software components. The transition from higher to lower abstraction levels is facilitated by the use of an OO real-time API, whose underlying facilities can be optimized according to the application needs and selected platform. An integrated toolset is used to support the intermediate steps of the design process. In order to illustrate the proposed approach and related toolset the design of an embedded real-time automation system for an "intelligent" wheelchair is presented. The paper also includes a performance evaluation of the implemented control and automation system for the wheelchair application, with focus on timing requirements.