General Motors just added a new service to its OnStar technology. The new service will allow OnStar to assist the police in recovering your stolen vehicle, and hopefully reduce fatalities and injuries that result from high speed police chases. This new technology is known as “Stolen Vehicle Slowdown,” and its name pretty much tells what it was created to do. Basically, this is the latest enhancement to OnStar’s stolen vehicle service, and it allows OnStar advisors to work with the police, by sending a signal to the subscriber’s stolen vehicle that reduces engine power, slowing the vehicle down gradually.
More details after the jump.
“The Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service will allow our subscribers added peace of mind by possibly preventing their vehicle from being used as an instrument of harm if it happens to be stolen,” says Chet Huber, OnStar president.
Each year there is about 30,000 police chases, and approximately 300 deaths that occur because of these chases. OnStar hopes to change those statistics, and make the roads safer.
How exactly does the Vehicle Slowdown work? Well, the OnStar subscriber files a stolen vehicle report with law enforcement, and requests Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance from OnStar. Then, the OnStar Advisors work with the local police to locate the stolen vehicle, using GPS technology. When the local police think that they have the vehicle in sight, the officer asks the OnStar Advisor to activate the blinker to confirm he is indeed looking at the stolen vehicle. The police then asks OnStar to shut down the engine power to idle. In an instant, OnStar Advisor remotely reduce the engine power to idle speed, using the in-vehicle communications link. The vehicle slows down naturally, without any action on the brakes, door locks, or steering wheel. The driver can still drive the vehicle safely and even maneuver at idle speed to pull over. GM lock the vehicle doors, to avoid upsetting the driver of the stolen vehicle who might be tempted to get into even more trouble by pulling out a gun, or break windows to escape.
This new system is a GM-exclusive feature in the U.S. and Canada, and will be included in the one year OnStar subscription that you receive when you purchase a 2009 OnStar-equipped vehicle. Unfortunately for those of you who already have an OnStar equipped GM vehicle; it is not possible to have a software upgrade of this new technology.
If your planning on buying a GM vehicle, this new technology could help you get back your stolen vehicle, before your precious baby gets damaged or lost forever. Let’s hope that insurance companies will take this into consideration, and give you break on your next car thief policy.