Hard to believe, but this month will usher in the 15th year of GM's pioneering OnStar telematics service. Announced in 1995 and launched at the Chicago Auto Show in spring 1996, OnStar has gone on to add a wide range of supplemental features to its original menu of driver assists, including its latest Mobile Applications. While OnStar President Chris Preuss promised to reveal details about what we can expect to see in the future on September 15, he did dip into the stat files to highlight several of OnStar's most impressive accomplishments.
During the past decade and a half, OnStar representatives have been called upon to remotely unlock over 4.7 million doors and its Emergency Service alerts helped various first-responders get to the scene of accidents more than one million times -- including over 146,000 situations where OnStar's Automatic Crash Notifications sent emergency personnel to a vehicle whose driver was unresponsive after an airbag deployment. Also notable, OnStar's Stolen Vehicle Assistance service that provides GPS location data and can also remotely slow a vehicle down has responded to 51,000 requests for help since it was introduced in 2007.
Although the next step in OnStar's pitched battle to outdo Ford's stellar SYNC system remains under wraps for at least a few more days, several well-sourced rumors have already slipped out. If they prove true, expect to see voice texting and the ability for users to update their Facebook entries added to the current roster of OnStar capabilities.