Score one more point for advanced vehicle telematics. This time, it was GM's OnStar's Stolen Vehicle Slowdown system that put an early -- and happy -- end to its first-ever carjacking case. The incident took place recently in Visalia, California, and involved a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe
whose owner, Jose Ruiz, and his passenger were forced out of the vehicle and robbed by a shotgun-wielding perp who then drove off in the SUV
. Ruiz flagged down local police and told them his Tahoe was OnStar equipped. Once alerted to the situation, the OnStar dispatcher was able to locate the vehicle using GPS and advise police of its exact location. As soon as they established visual contact, the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown system was activated. Available on a number of GM cars and trucks
that are OnStar equipped, SVS progressively rolls back engine power to idle while keeping all other critical systems functional. Within moments of the SVS signal being downloaded, the Tahoe was at a full stop and the suspect immediately apprehended. Shortly thereafter, Ruiz and his unharmed Tahoe were reunited. Although its Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service has been deployed 38 times in a wide variety of situations since its fall 2008 launch, OnStar says this was the first instance in which it was called upon to deal with an armed carjacking. Perhaps the most impressive stat is that the total time from first OnStar contact to vehicle recovery was less than 16 minutes.