OnStar LogoFounded in 1995 and officially launched at that year's Chicago Auto Show, OnStar has just hit its 15th birthday. After unlocking 4.7 million doors and providing over 59 million turn-by-turn routes, the tech centerpiece found in General Motors' vehicles is not ready to sit back and revel in the past. Ford is constantly improving its Sync system and The General is looking to move OnStar into the same league. The major details of it plans are not yet available but we recently learned that OnStar is testing two interesting new features; voice texting and the ability to update your Facebook status simply by speaking.

As OnStar moves into the future, let's take a look at what it has accomplished over the last 15 years.
  • More than one million responses to Emergency Service alerts, assisting drivers, first responders and local police departments in many life-threatening situations.
  • More than 146,000 responses to Automatic Crash Notifications where OnStar sent emergency personnel to a vehicle whose driver was unresponsive after an airbag deployment.
  • 198 different coastal communities helped with hurricane preparedness through OnStar's Crisis Assist.
  • More than 59 million Turn-by-Turn routes delivered. What was seen as a preliminary step against distracted driving, Turn-by-Turn Navigation allows an advisor to send directions directly to a subscriber's Driver Information Center or radio.
  • More than 4.7 million doors have been unlocked by OnStar's Remote Door Unlock service. OnStar unlocks 1,833 doors every day, a huge convenience for people who accidently lock their keys in the car. (It happens.)
  • More than 147 million monthly e-mails have been sent to subscribers since launch, giving them real-time diagnostic reports of their vehicles.
Besides just helping those in need, OnStar can also "help" those with greed – the type of greed that would lead them to steal a car. If a thief manages to swipe a vehicle equipped with GM's big blue button, it can be slowed down remotely or, in other cases, OnStar can remotely block the ignition.

OnStar is a service that makes the lives of millions of customers a little easier, and we at Autoblog would like to wish it a happy birthday... as long as GM promises not to throw it a MTV-style Sweet Sixteen next year. Follow the jump to read more about OnStar in its official birthday press release.

[Source: OnStar]
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OnStar Commemorates 15 Years of Safety and Convenience
Auto Industry's First Telematics System Re-"counts" the Past as it Moves Toward the Future
2010-09-09


DETROIT – Fifteen years ago Global Positioning Systems (GPS) were confined to military use, telematics was a foreign term and most drivers had a paper map in their glove compartment.

Fast forward to today, where the press of a blue button on your car's rear view mirror connects you to a live advisor who can send you turn-by-turn driving directions, connect you to a friend or send a tow truck to the scene.

This month, employees of OnStar celebrate the company's 15th anniversary and the positive impact it's had on millions of lives.

OnStar, founded in 1995 and officially launched at the Chicago Auto Show in 1996, has continually raised the bar for safety and security. As the first telematics service of its kind, the company's commitment to helping people has resulted in some significant numbers:

More than 1 million responses to Emergency Service alerts, assisting drivers, first responders and local police departments in many life threatening situations;
More than 146,000 responses to Automatic Crash Notifications where OnStar sent emergency personnel to a vehicle whose driver was unresponsive after an airbag deployment.
198 different coastal communities helped with hurricane preparedness through OnStar's Crisis Assist.
"One of the most rewarding parts about working for OnStar is knowing that we've helped save so many lives over the years," said OnStar President Chris Preuss. "Our emergency services also provide millions of drivers with peace of mind when they're behind the wheel."

Since the feature debuted in 2007, OnStar has responded to 51,000 requests for Stolen Vehicle Assistance. That includes providing Law Enforcement the GPS location of a vehicle that's been reported stolen, or remotely slowing down a stolen vehicle in order to avoid a dangerous high-speed chase. The latter, known as Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, was first deployed last October when California resident Jose Ruiz was carjacked at gunpoint early in the morning. After OnStar located the stolen Chevrolet Tahoe, and the police had it in their sights, OnStar was able to safely slow the vehicle to a stop and the suspect was apprehended. Less than 16 minutes after OnStar was contacted, Ruiz's Tahoe was safely recovered.

"We've heard too many stories of innocent victims who lost their lives because a high-speed car chase got out of control. With features like Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, it's now possible to eliminate that dangerous situation all together." said Preuss.

In addition to safety and security, OnStar also offers subscribers many convenience features:

More than 59 million Turn-by-Turn routes delivered. One of the staples for OnStar is the Turn-by-Turn Navigation service. What was seen as a preliminary step against distracted driving, Turn-by-Turn Navigation allows an advisor to send directions directly to a subscriber's Driver Information Center or radio.
More than 4.7 million doors have been unlocked by OnStar's Remote Door Unlock service. OnStar unlocks 1,833 doors every day, a convenience for people who accidently lock their keys in the car.
More than 147 million monthly emails have been sent to subscribers since launch giving them a real-time diagnostic report of their vehicle.
Another notable aspect of OnStar that's not directly related to their service is their advertising campaigns. The first OnStar ad to ever appear was in 1996 at the end of an episode of Seinfeld. Kramer was in the hospital and he picked up the New York Times; on the back page was a full page OnStar ad. In 1998 they implemented their Storytellers campaign, which featured reenactments of subscriber interactions with the service. In 2000, OnStar, DC Comics and Warner Bros., teamed to produce the Batman campaign. In these TV commercials OnStar was incorporated into the Batmobile to help Batman in various crime-fighting scenarios. They were shot in the actual Warner Bros. bat-cave, using the original Batmobile. The most recent campaign features real-life recordings of subscribers being aided by OnStar.

Recent OnStar developments include a partnership with Google, OnStar Mobile Applications for most GM vehicles and the introduction of its Generation 9.0 technology. On Sept. 15, Preuss will share his vision for the company's future.