The development of microprocessor automotive control systems emphasizes the need for a direct interface between microprocessors and displays or electromechanical actuators. Vertical Metal Oxide Semiconductor or VMOS devices offer a combination of high input impedence, large output current, rapid switching of large currents, and immunity to current hogging and second breakdown problems. The electrical characteristics of VMOS devices makes them attractive candidates for interfacing with microprocessors as well as other automotive applications. However, the successful incorporation of VMOS devices in automotive systems requires a thorough understanding of their electrical operating characteristics under varying conditions. This paper investigates the characteristics of VMOS power transistors, compares them with bipolar transistors, and discusses the use of VMOS transistors in automotive applications.