Last night I took a tour of the GM OnStar command center here in
Michigan and had dinner with President Chet Huber and the executive
team behind the OnStar success story.
Chet and his team are passionate about their OnStar on board integrated
wireless technology birthed well before popular in 1995 and has grown
to 5 million subscribers. The dedication to continue to develop this
technology to help save lives and assist GM OnStar customers with
personalized live help is quite an impressive feat.
OnStar subscribers not only get roadside assistance from the 1000 plus
team of the live support team, the latest version with on board
diagnostics can detect and relay what kind of problem has occured and
speed the right services to the consumer, including better prepared
emergency medical help.
To learn more about their newest innovation on turn by turn directions read some info from this recent post on Ask Patty:
"GPS, or Global Positioning System, was
originally developed by the U.S. military and released to civilian use
in 1996. 27 satellites orbit the earth and form their own constellation
so that four satellites are always present or “visible”.
visibility’s important. Your GPS unit, or “receiver”, works by emitting
a high-frequency, low-power radio signal to those satellites. By using
triangulation of where—and when--the satellites are to each other and
to the receiver, your location can then be determined. The location
information is then combined with the almanac, or map, in your receiver
to give you a visual representation to where you are. Location,
atmospheric conditions, and incorrect almanac information can severely
affect the GPS’ accuracy.
Onstar, which is General Motor’s subscription tracking and monitoring
system, uses this service to provide the most unique and simplest
navigation system that I’ve ever encountered. Called “Turn By Turn”,
the system directs you to your location by simple verbal directions. Herb Shuldiner of Newsday
tested the system. He contacted the staff and, after giving his
destination, they transmitted the information to his car’s Onstar unit.
The unit told him what street to take, when to turn, and how many miles
(or feet) for the next action. This is a lot easier than using my
Accord’s navigation system: I not only spent a weekend studying the
manual and learning the system, but I have to look away from the road
to make sure I’m following directions. Onstar avoids both issues by
being easy to operate (just press a button) and simple to follow."
According to GM, having OnStar reduces the morbidity in accidents
because their technology knows where you are, when it happened, and
even how severe the accident might be. That kind of technology is