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The purpose of this paper is to provide a tutorial on the current uses of digital communications in General Motors (GM) vehicle products. Existing GM vehicle communication systems are reviewed, their characteristics are described, and the future development trends of such systems are discussed. Long-term development of automotive digital communications will require a more complete understanding of the technologies applied. Local area network technology is proving to be very effective in lowering the cost of communication in land-based systems, due to the rapid growth and development of low-cost computing and data storage. Vehicle designers are now applying many of these same technologies to reduce the life cycle costs of increasingly complex electrical/electronic systems.