It's very tough to find an electronic gadget these days that doesn't have a way to access your home/work network. Sitting in my living room here are the networked items within eye's view: xbox, Wii, Roku, Tivo, Treo, 2 laptops. At GCC we continue to see more and more Audio/Video/Lighting gear on the network along with our HVAC and Phone system ... truly the need for basic networking skills is becoming more and more prevalent in both workplace and home.
Well, BMW is bringing this same IP (internet protocol) technology ... to your car. And no we're not talking about trendy bluetooth connectivity stuff ... this is hard core mission critical "your car won't work without it" stuff.
There's a variety of flavors of in-car networking standards that corral the large number of embedded computers and nodes present in the modern automobile. BMW Research and Technology, an R&D division of BMW, has found Internet Protocol up to the tasks that the other standards currently perform. BMW engineers used a standard PC and connected it up to the expected gear -- ECUs, engine and chassis control systems, even a multimedia server for the entertainment system. The reasoning behind using IP versus the more specialized protocols is to anticipate future needs and requirements, as well as reducing costs. Costs drop because fewer specialized components are needed, and the new version of IPv6 is even better than the more than fine performance from IPv4. It's a little spooky to think that your fly-by-wire throttle could be trying to chat with the engine using the same technology that we use to send instant messages, but IP proved itself capable enough even for critical safety functions. - via AutoBlog
So it may not be long before your auto mechanic will be telling you the problem with your car is the result of a bad subnet mask.