Nearly everyone has a smartphone equipped with some sort of mapping app or navigation software. These apps with turn-by-turn navigation are a marvel, but come with annoyances — you still need to peer into your small screen, tap in those directions yourself, and you still need a robust 3G/4G signal wherever you may be, to download map updates for your location.
It’s a problem that’s been solved not by one of the Silicon Valley heavyweights, but by good old GM — with OnStar, the company’s vehicle care and assistance technology package.
What is OnStar?
Over the decades, people have grown used to viewing driving as an activity for the intrepid and the resourceful. If you’re far from home and out of gas, you have yourself to blame. You can either call AAA, or walk miles to a gas station. If you are lost, you ask around. If you are in a crash, it’s so rare a thing that you don’t have to plan for it. Getting into your car hasn’t really been a statement to your independence – it’s only looked like it.
GM’s OnStar fulfills the promise of what cars were always supposed to be about and makes it whole with a wide range of services that work not just through the technology supplied, but also because of a team of well-trained experts standing by at all times to provide support to drivers.
How does OnStar work?
According to Ghent (frequently voted the best Chevy dealership in Greeley, CO), the OnStar technology services package placed in each new GM vehicle taps deeply into its sensor systems. The OnStar system rounds out the package with Verizon cellular, GPS and Bluetooth. The OnStar system continually reads the car’s computers for information on every parameter you could imagine — engine speed, battery level, transmission health, door locks, and so on.
Whether you find yourself in a collision, have lost your way in the middle of nowhere or have run out of gas, OnStar can either automatically learn about the situation, contact the call center for you and put you in touch for immediate assistance, or wait for you to call by yourself for the assistance that you need.
The turn-by-turn navigation can be especially convenient. Wherever you may be, if you need directions, all you need to do is to press a button for a hotline to OnStar. Directions are beamed down to your vehicle, which then proceeds to tell you where to go. The Verizon connection in OnStar can also work as a regular mobile phone. It has its own number.
OnStar has some excellent conveniences
Drivers often have trouble remembering if they’ve locked their cars. Usually, these doubts only surface once one is safely in the office, well out of reach of the car. OnStar shines here. You can fire up the OnStar app, and check from anywhere! You can also use the app to start up the car and warm the seats in readiness for your arrival.
The deep integration that OnStar has with the car’s computers means that theft is a thing of the past. Once a theft is reported, OnStar’s team can slow down the car or stop it, or simply watch where it is going. Parents often use the system to keep tabs on their teenage kids. In short, the system does everything you would want.
OnStar’s call center isn’t full of average call center drones. They are motivated, well-paid individuals who think for themselves. This is why OnStar receives and responds to hundreds of thousands of Good Samaritan calls by OnStar subscribers who want to help others that they see on the street. OnStar is more than a vehicle management system. It’s turned out to work like a nonprofit.