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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
General Motors announced today that OnStar’s First Assist service is accredited for emergency medical dispatching (EMD).
GM is introducing a new way for people who own its cars to make money: integrating a car sharing service with OnStar.
Starting today, generally unloved BlackBerry smartphone users can take advantage of the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App, something that until now has been restricted to iOS and Android devices.
OnStar is General Motors safety and security service that offers navigation, emergency personnel contact and more, and is now becoming popular in other manufacturers vehicles thanks to the For My Vehicle (FMV) aftermarket mirror.
The FMV mirror can be installed in any car, and offers all of the services you find in a factory equipped OnStar vehicle. Toyota vehicles account for 15.6 percent of OnStar FMV sales, followed by Ford who make up 12.3 percent. Also, more than 30 percent of the Ford vehicles that installed the the aftermarket OnStar service were equipped with Ford’s own infotainment system Sync.
The majority of purchasers of this software own cars from 2011 and 2012, most of which are already equipped with each manufacturers infotainment systems, telling us that many new car buyers value General Motors mirror mounted OnStar system over other comparable services.
OnStar is offering the aftermarket package for $99.99 from May 6 through June 16. The directions and connections OnStar service will run you $299 a year.
Looking for a way to keep track of your family members when they’re out and about? Whether you’re a nervous parent or a suspicious spouse, OnStar is adding a new Family Link program for just $3.99 a month that will allow subscribers to locate their vehicle no matter where it is.
The optional service has two features: vehicle locate and vehicle location alert. By using its vehicle locate feature, users will be able to log into the Family Link website to find the vehicle on a map at anytime. The vehicle location alert feature will email or text notifications to the subscriber with where the vehicle is. The subscriber can choose the day, time, and frequency of the alerts.
Family Link is OnStar’s first a la carte service where subscribers can add it to their existing OnStar package for just $3.99 a month. There will be a phased-launch starting in mid-April for select subscribers to sign up, while more invites will go out in June. From there, OnStar will continue to roll out the service to all subscribers in the U.S. throughout the year.
“For more than 16 years, OnStar has developed and enhanced our service by listening to our customers,” said OnStar Vice President of Subscriber Services Joanne Finnorn. “They tell us how they use technology and what they want it to do. Last year, we had more than 4,500 subscribers test the Family Link service and they told us it provides them peace of mind by staying connected to their family when they’re on the road.”
Watch a brief commercial on the new OnStar Family Link after the break.
It turns out that OnStar isn’t just used for helping yourself or your vehicle. Today OnStar is reporting that many use the system to help others in need.
According to OnStar’s statistics, there are quite a few “Good Samaritan calls” in which an OnStar user calls to report another drivers situation that needs assistance. This includes things like helping drivers who have been in an accident or have a flat tire. Some even use OnStar to respond to Amber Alerts.
In honor of the good deeds of OnStar users, there will be a program launched later this year to recognize those who have shown good Samaritan efforts. Additional details will be coming at a later date.
Here is the list and numbers of America’s Top 10 Cities making Good Samaritan calls. It’s very interesting to note that these are among some of the most congested cities in America as well. Maybe some of these calls occur right in gridlock.
Everyone had to know this was coming the second General Motors announced the For My Vehicle (FMV) OnStar system, an aftermarket setup that can be implemented on any vehicle. The second OnStar’s FMV would help recover a Chrysler, there would be news about it – and here it is.
Last weekend, on December 18th, Jean Franklin of Gresham, Oregon had her stolen 2006 Chrysler 300 recovered thanks to OnStar FMV, making it the first case of a recovered car with the aftermarket mirror. And GM probably couldn’t have had it better for their first success story, not just being a Chrysler, but having the recovery time a mere 64-minutes after the original call was placed by Franklin.
OnStar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors, helps recover more than 500 stolen GM vehicles a month and can now aid in recovering any stolen vehicle, GM competitor or not.
OnStar’s FMV is priced at $199 plus installation with monthly service charges of $18.95/month or $199/year.
OnStar has joined forces with NORAD to bring you updates as to where Santa is delivering presents – that means if you’re on the road, you can find out where St. Nick is and get home in time to leave out milk and cookies.
Available to OnStar subscribers for free 7 a.m. Christmas Eve through 5 a.m. Christmas Day, all you have to do to find out where Santa is making his rounds is just press the OnStar blue button. Operators will give you a “Santa Update” using NORAD’s military radar stations and satellites.
“We see this holiday tradition as staying true to keeping subscribers connected in ways they never thought possible,” said OnStar marketing vice president Terry Inch. “We know many of our customers will be glad to know Santa’s location information.”
To see how the OnStar Santa Update works, watch the video after the jump.
General Motors is taking their Cadillac and OnStar brand to the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.
The show, which runs from January 10 – 13, is a hot bed for all the latest gadgets and gizmos and GM wants to take advantage of that by showcasing their latest version of the OnStar system and Cadillac’s new CUE multi-media infotainment system.
Cadillac will be demonstrating for the press and public how CUE works and also regarding the creation of this innovative new technology.
OnStar will unveil its evolutionary research in the 4G LTE cloud connected vehicle space and reveal future expansions in the mobile applications arena. It will also make announcements about OnStar FMV, its aftermarket rearview mirror that contains all of OnStar’s key functions for older and off-brand vehicles.
OnStar will also collaborate with Verizon Wireless to show how its 4G LTE network to show how its in vehicle streaming can benefit all its occupants.
The 2012 C.E.S. will be held at the Casanova Ballroom of the Venetian Hotel and Casino, so if you want to see the latest technology from GM and other tech companies, this is the show to be at.
Would you trust new technology with your life? One Chevy Volt owner did, and walked away from a rather serious smash-up mostly unharmed.
A forum user on GM-Volt.com posted pictures recently of his totaled Volt on the New Jersey Turnpike. The car (number 187) became a martyr after a nasty highway collision.
“Except for some back and neck pain for my wife and I, it was a miracle that there wasn’t any more injuries. The car is rock solid, that’s for sure. I’m going to miss that car,” the owner said on the thread.
According to the driver, a Ford Taurus veered into their lane and caused them to hit an oncoming school bus. Contents from the trunk flew into the back seat where the driver’s three-year-old and 15-month-old children were sitting.
This might be the first reported write-off of the new Volt, which garnered the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top safety pick and a five-star rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Safety features on the car include front, side, knee and ceiling mounted airbags as well as electronic stability control. Volt owners also get a 3-year subscription to OnStar’s Directions and Connections Plan including Automatic Crash Response, stolen vehicle assistance and connected navigation.
GALLERY: Chevy Volt Wreck
Unveiled at the CTIA Wireless Association’s Enterprise and Applications conference in Sand Diego, Cadillac‘s new CUE system promises to be the most advanced in-car telematics interface. Rivaling system’s like MyFordTouch, it’s also designed to be easy to use and understand, even for novices.
With a big 8-inch high-def screen (optional 12.3-inch) CUE has numerous unique features to the segment, even using multi-touch hand gestures, much like the iPad, with different motions (tap, flick, swipe and spread) all executing different functions on the screen. Plus it even offers “haptic feedback” with the screen pulsing where pressed to give the operator and idea of what button they are on – allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. In addition, Cadillac says CUE will allow for fewer and simpler voice controls, while also reading texts and sending pre-recorded messages in return.
CUE stands for Cadillac User Experience and Cadillac aims to make that experience as user-friendly as possible, reducing the usual 20 or so buttons used to control in car features to just four, with a display screen that features large icons and a big storage area behind to place your smartphone.
“CUE doesn’t replace your smartphone or your iPod,” said Micky Bly, executive director, Global Electric Systems, Infotainment and Electrification. “Rather it allows consumers to securely store those mobile devices while channeling the information on those devices, along with your navigation tools, weather maps with Doppler radar, AM/FM and XM radio, instant messages and emails, through a central portal in your Cadillac, keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
Developed based on driving habits, CUE’s LCD screen puts the driver’s five most frequently used functions at the top of the screen with up to 60 other customizable options available at the bottom of the screen. Also a part of the package are two five-way controllers, with the one in the right of the steering wheel that allows operation of display, the volume and with buttons to scroll through the favorites. On the left side is a controller to operate cruise control, voice recognition, Bluetooth and the heated steering wheel. And of course GM’s OnStar system is a part of CUE with many OnStar functions available on the screen.
The first models to offer the CUE telematics system are the upcoming ATS (Caddy’s BMW 3 Series fighter) as well as the XTS flagship luxury sedan and the SRX crossover.
GALLERY: Cadillac CUE
If you’ve got a GM vehicle and OnStar, you’ll be able to rent out your idle car and make some extra cash through the RelayRides marketplace.
General Motors has teamed up with RelayRides, a peer-to-peer carsharing marketplace, that’s targeted to owners of a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle. This innovative program puts the vehicle owner in control – you can choose the rates and availability of your car. Done through RelayRides online marketplace, there’s a $1 million insurance policy to make the transaction safe and convenient.
Using the OnStar system, RelayRides lets borrowers unlock GM cars with their mobile phones – no additional hardware is needed. If you don’t have OnStar but want to take part in the program, you’ll have to install a small device in your car so borrowers can access it.
“We’re using technology to make both our older and newest models carshare ready and available for those owners who choose to participate in carsharing,” said Stephen Girsky, GM vice chairman. “Our goal is to find ways to broaden our customer reach, reduce traffic congestion in America’s largest cities and address urban mobility concerns.”
This RelayRides mobile application is planned for early 2012, so we’ll pass along the information once we hear about it.
Last week, details surfaced of OnStar’s revised Terms and Conditions that allows the company to perform private data tracking on vehicles equipped with their device, whether the owner is a subscriber for OnStar’s service or not.
Even though OnStar, a telematics subsidiary of GM, had written a press release to assure customers that its two-way connection would only be used to alert vehicle occupants of an emergency weather condition that might necessitate evacuation or inform owners of recalls for their car, New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer still felt it was necessary to call them out. “By tracking drivers even after they’ve canceled their service, OnStar is attempting one of the most brazen invasions of privacy in recent memory. I urge OnStar to abandon this policy and for (the Federal Trade Commission) to immediately launch a full investigation to determine whether the company’s actions constitute an unfair trade practice.”
Senator Schumer and a significant number of others are skeptical of OnStar’s intent to use this powerful technology only for the benefit of vehicle owners equipped with OnStar. Vice President of GM OnStar, Joanne Finorn, has made assurances that no private information has been sold. However, Finorn adds that if OnStar chooses to sell their information in the future, the data would be aggregated and no individual information would be for sale.
Recently it has been revealed that owners of GM vehicles equipped with OnStar, whether subscribed to the service or not, risk the involuntary disclosure of private and sensitive data collected from the vehicle’s GPS unit.
A strong backlash ensued as critics accused OnStar of selling private information including vehicle speed, location, and seatbelt usage, to law enforcement, insurance companies, and traffic surveyors.
OnStar responded with a press release regarding the matter. Joanne Finnorn, Vice President of Onstar Subscriber Services, wrote a statement assuring that, “Onstar will maintain a two-way connection to their vehicle unless they ask us not to do so… This connection may provide us with the capability to alert vehicle occupants about severe weather conditions or mandatory evacuations… If the customer requests us to turn off the two-way connection, we will do so as we have always done, and that is to honor customer’s requests… We have never sold any personally identifiable information to any third party.”