This paper introduces the basic technical (and a few business) concepts behind developing a distributed embedded system in contrast to the typical centralized or single processor approach. The primary focus is at the architectural or product application level with an emphasis on the distributed function, partitioning, transfer dialogs, and the choice of communication protocol. Many real world examples in the automotive electronics industry will be shown to demonstrate the extensive use of this technology. The discussion will also examine the business aspects of “going distributed”, the basic process of developing a distributed product, and the importance of systems engineering.