Intent on leveraging the additional speed and inherent potential of emerging 4G technology for its own expanding lineup of customer services, OnStar is using this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to showcase a host of new entertainment, communications and safety applications based on Verizon's Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network technology. While admitting that all of these innovative expansions are still in prototype form, they clearly show the direction -- if not the precise final-form execution -- of what to expect from OnStar in the not-too-distant future.
Using a 2011 Buick LaCrosse as its static demonstrator, OnStar is presenting seven new functional capabilities that it feels will give it even more "must-have" appeal with new vehicle buyers. Vehicle Monitoring relies on a series of tiny cameras mounted inside of the passenger compartment to allow remote viewing using a smart phone or PC, while Impact Detection uses cameras located on the front, rear and sides of the vehicle to record live video it then sends live to a cloud-based server any time an impact occurs to make it easier to identify the cause as well as the individual responsible.
A new Voice Portal app permits owners to connect to web sites like YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia and Verizon VCAST through voice commands and the Video Chat app allows video calls to be made via Skype while the new Traffic View app enhances the current basic routing functionality by displaying actual real-time TrafficLand images from various locations. For buyers who find today's novel-length owners manuals a bit intimidating, OnStar has developed an Electronic Users Guide that can stream videos on proper operation and maintenance procedures directly to the to vehicle's dash display. Lastly, the Home Monitoring and Control app lets owners connect to their home's security network through the 4Home service and operate functions like the lights and thermostat settings from their vehicle.
"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."