Ford SYNC might be so cool and the new Toyota Entune may be like an in-dash laptop, but General Motor’s OnStar is the oldest in-car connectivity system. At 2011 CES event in Las Vegas GM reveals a new generation of the OnStar system which leverages Verizon 4G LTE Wireless network to offer great new features for entertainment, communications and safety.
Some of the amazing features you get with the new OnStar is the Skype video chat, voice command, traffic montitoring, impact detection and many more (details in the press release below). And you can get OnStar even if you don’t want to buy a GM vehicle. They are going to offer this system as an aftermarket product in the U.S. in spring 2011 for $299.
OnStar shows prototype applications for entertainment, communications and safety based on 4G LTE mobile broadband
LAS VEGAS, DETROIT and BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – From the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), OnStar today unveiled a demonstration of prototype applications for what future in-vehicle entertainment, communications and safety could look like when taking advantage of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network.
OnStar has equipped a stationary Buick LaCrosse research vehicle to show these applications in the Verizon Wireless booth. Among the innovative services made possible by combining the power of OnStar with the speed of 4G:
Vehicle monitoring. Cameras mounted throughout the interior and exterior of the car allow remote viewing of what is happening in and around your parked vehicle through a smart phone or PC.
Impact detection. The research vehicle has the ability to send out live video to secure servers in the cloud from each of its six cameras placed around the exterior and interior of the vehicle. This is triggered by events around the car, or by an application on your smart phone. When an impact is detected, such as a parking lot fender-bender, the vehicle transmits a video clip – making it possible to identify offending drivers.
Voice Portal. You can safely connect through voice commands to call up top social web sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia and music with Verizon VCAST on the in-vehicle display.
Home monitoring and control. Keep an eye on your home by connecting to security cameras in real time through the 4Home service. Control the thermostat, lights and other home systems from your vehicle – preset scenes allow you to condition your home when you leave, before you return, or when you’re leaving for an extended period of time.
Electronic User’s Guide. Learn how to operate and maintain your vehicle through videos streamed on demand to the in vehicle display.
Video chat. Make a video call using Skype to connect with family, friends or colleagues.
Traffic view. A voice-operated navigation system goes beyond calculating the best route by displaying live traffic-cam images from TrafficLand to spot congestion before you get stuck in a back-up.
“The true broadband speed of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network gives our engineers the freedom to re-imagine the world of connected in-vehicle services of the future,” said OnStar President Chris Preuss. “While we haven’t decided yet which of these demonstration features OnStar will offer, or when, these prototype applications show just some of what’s possible when we combine our 15 years experience in developing safe secure and leading edge connected mobility solutions with the speed and agility of Verizon Wireless’s 4G LTE network. Any new future services OnStar might offer will meet our high standards for safety – making sure that drivers’ hands are on the wheel and their eyes are on the road.”
The Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network, launched in December 2010, is the fastest, largest and most advanced network in the United States, providing speeds 10 times faster than existing 3G networks. Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network currently reaches one-third of all Americans, with plans to expand the network to the company’s entire coverage area over the next three years.
OnStar’s prototype applications are the result of collaboration with Verizon Wireless’ LTE Innovation Center. The LTE Innovation Center, established in 2008, provides an environment for diverse companies to work together to develop innovative products that leverage 4G LTE technology.
Now Available for Most Top-Selling Vehicles on the Road Today
* For the first time, OnStar’s industry leading safety, security and connectivity services are available to consumers in a standalone rearview mirror
* Retail product to offer key OnStar features including Automatic Crash Response
* Available in the U.S. in spring 2011 for $299;Best Buy announced as first strategic retail partner, with over 1,100 stores; other selected retailers to follow
Las Vegas, Jan. 4, 2011- OnStar today announced that it is responding to repeated consumer requests by offering its industry leading safety, security and connectivity services for non-GM and older GM vehicles already on the road. A standalone rearview mirror packing all of OnStar’s core technology will be available this spring through consumer electronics retailers, and is compatible with most top-selling vehicles from major manufacturers.
The OnStar retail product offers the key features that have made OnStar’s “blue button” an icon, including Automatic Crash Response, Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, one-button access to emergency and roadside services, and hands-free calling, including Bluetooth connectivity.
“For years, thousands of drivers have asked us to get OnStar in vehicles that didn’t feature it as standard,” said Chris Preuss, OnStar president. “With the retail product that we’ve introduced today they certainly can. This move in to the consumer electronics space represents the biggest development in our business model since introducing OnStar as standard across all GM products several years ago. It represents a quantum leap forward in our plans to grow our business and provide a strong new revenue base for GM and OnStar from which we can further develop our core offerings in the factory-equipped market.”
OnStar will offer the mirror in the United States through Best Buy, its first strategic retail partner, beginning in spring 2011. The product will also be available through other selected consumer electronics retailers. The mirror will be priced at $299, plus installation (expected to cost between $75 and $100). A range of service plans will be available, starting at $18.95 a month or $199 a year.
“We’re proud to be OnStar’s first strategic retail partner for this innovative offering, which is one more way Best Buy can help our customers stay connected whenever and wherever they want,” said Lisa Farrell, senior vice president and general manager portable electronics customer solutions group at Best Buy. “We provide a one-stop solution for consumers. In addition to purchasing the device at Best Buy, we offer our customers the convenience of having it installed by our Geek Squad Auto Techs – all at one location.”
Ingram Micro will serve as the key distributor of this product and is the main contact for interested retail outlets.
Currently, the OnStar mirror is certified to work on 99 percent of the top 20 selling non-GM vehicles over the last 10 years, or approximately 55 million cars and trucks. OnStar expects to certify additional models in the months ahead.
Key features of the OnStar mirror include:
* Automatic Crash Response. An accelerometer built into OnStar the mirror detects the sudden shock of an impact from the front, side, or rear of the vehicle and automatically calls an OnStar advisor. If the driver doesn’t respond, or responds to say there has been a crash, an OnStar advisor will direct emergency responders to the exact GPS location of the vehicle.
* Link to Emergency Services. By pressing OnStar’s red emergency button, drivers are immediately connected to a specially trained emergency advisor for assistance in situations occurring inside or outside of their vehicle.
* Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance. If the vehicle is reported stolen to local law enforcement, OnStar subscribers can call 1-888-4-OnStar (1-888-466-7827) from any phone. OnStar advisors, available 24/7, can attempt to locate the vehicle through the mirror’s internal GPS and provide the location to law enforcement.
* Turn-by-Turn Navigation. With OnStar’s most popular service, drivers can press OnStar’s blue button and ask OnStar advisors for directions to a specific location or ask the advisor to find a point of interest such as a gas station or nearby restaurant. The directions are then downloaded to the OnStar system, which provides spoken turn-by-turn directions for reaching the destination.
* Roadside Assistance. In non-emergency situations, drivers can push the blue button or call 1-888-4-ONSTAR for help with problems such as keys locked in the vehicle, a flat tire, or running out of gas.
* Hands-Free Calling. OnStar allows drivers to make hands-free, voice-activated calls either through a Bluetooth connection to the driver’s mobile phone or through prepaid packages of minutes purchased through OnStar.
All these services are available directly through the OnStar mirror, without requiring the driver to bring along a mobile phone or even own a mobile phone. In the event of an accident, emergency services are alerted even if there is no mobile phone in the vehicle, the phone is damaged in a crash or the driver is unable to use a phone.
OnStar is now in its ninth generation of technology. The first-generation OnStar product in 1996 was comprised of 38 individual components and could take up to four days to install. Now all of the technology required to deliver the OnStar experience fits inside a rearview mirror weighing only 23 ounces, and professional installation is expected to take less than an hour. This requires removing the vehicle’s current rearview mirror, replacing it with the OnStar product and running an electric power source to the new mirror.