Automaker announces major upgrade to OnStar
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At CES 2015, GM announced that it's adding a slew of new services to its OnStar telematics system that take advantage of 4G LTE connectivity. These include a car insurance discount program, a new system that predicts when your vehicle needs service, and some more new apps.
First up, a service designed to encourage better driving offers insurance discounts to safe motorists. OnStar and Progressive Insurance partnered to gather driving data, offering feedback and cost savings to subscribers with good records.
Due to privacy concerns, this feature is opt-in. GM assured us that no data is gathered without the explicit consent of each customer. Among those who do want this sort of monitoring and feedback, only Progressive customers will be able to take part, and only in states where so-called "pay-as-you-drive" insurance is legal.
Chevy also announced two other new OnStar functionalities: a predictive diagnostic service, plus a hotel and restaurant locator.
Predictive technology is designed to monitor certain car parts and alert consumers when those parts are likely to need servicing—usually before car problems actually manifest. As an example, OnStar would be able to predict when a battery, starter motor, or fuel pump might need service based on how often an individual driver starts their car daily.
Owners of cars with 4G connectivity can use OnStar AtYourService to find nearby restaurants and hotels. Users would be able to get directions, book reservations, or even receive exclusive discounts. This service connects drivers to retailers, once again taking advantage of the connectivity offered by 4G LTE-equipped GM vehicles. Currently, partners in this program include Dunkin’ Donuts, Priceline.com, and Audiobooks.com.
Since its debut as a safety and security system, OnStar has grown into GM's umbrella brand for connectivity. As automakers compete for technological superiority and wireless carriers compete for customers, we expect to see more and more car manufacturers debut similar connectivity features.