Telematics Technology (OnStar)

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Quickly Becoming a Necessary Tool
What do seatbelts, airbags and telematics all have in common? The answer is simple: all three could save your life. But unlike seatbelts and airbags, only telematics can remotely unlock your vehicle, guide you safely through unfamiliar territory or book reservations for two at a cozy French restaurant.

Telematics technology represents the latest advancement in on-board voice and data communications. One of the best known and most widely used systems is GM's OnStar. Many GM vehicles now offer OnStar as standard equipment and some even come with free trial membership. To maintain the service, you must become a regular subscriber—just as you do with your cable and Internet services. There are different plans with different monthly subscription costs, but even the most basic plan has a lot to offer. In fact, the OnStar service is so desirable that other manufacturers are now licensing the system for use in their own vehicles.

What can OnStar do for you?
One of the many services included in the Safety & Security Plan is roadside assistance. Should your vehicle become disabled or should you need emergency aid, you can take comfort in the knowledge that an OnStar representative will always be standing by to assist you. In the event of an accident you can request the OnStar center to contact your insurance company, freeing you to deal with the situation at hand. If the vehicle's airbags are deployed, the system notifies the OnStar center and a representative will attempt to contact you; if you are unable to respond, emergency services will be dispatched to your location. The center can also be contacted for emergency information about you, such as the name and number of your doctor and any important medical information an attending physician may need to know.

OnStar's abilities go far beyond emergency situations; they include service that can be called upon to assist you with everyday dilemmas. Should you accidentally lock your keys in the car, an OnStar representative can remotely unlock the doors and allow you access. If you are experiencing technical difficulties or simply having a problem understanding how to work your navigation system, an OnStar agent can talk you step-by-step toward a speedy resolution. And because OnStar uses Global Positioning System technology (GPS), it can function as a locating beacon for the police, should your vehicle ever fall into the hands of car thieves.

For those who order the Premium plan, the OnStar menu is expanded to include a concierge service that can locate restaurants or book theater tickets. There is a voice-activated phone link that responds to verbal commands, such as "call home," allowing you to carry on a conversation while keeping both hands on the wheel. You can even link to your personal computer and have your email read to you, check stock prices or get the latest sport scores and news updates. But the most attractive feature in the Premium Plan is the expanded capabilities assigned to the on-board GPS. With this service, the OnStar center can pinpoint the location of your vehicle anywhere, anytime. If you get lost, the service can track your vehicle and guide you back to more familiar roads.

For more information about OnStar, visit their Web site at

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