• Sep 10, 2010
Founded 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]
Show full PR text
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.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      4.7 million times people went dumb
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Zakspeed:

        In a car? No, they have door handles and the little lock/unlock levers for that :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        C'mon now, you can't tell me that you have never locked yourself out of your car or home. If you haven't, then I bet you at least know someone close to you that has at one point or the other.

        It happens to everyone eventually.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ok, i have locked myself out once out of a house...but never in a car!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, updating Facebook while in the car? My eyes are sooooo rolled back I can see my brain.
        • 4 Years Ago
        FaceBook Status: O.M.G. just locked myself out of my car - brb
        • 4 Years Ago
        You couldn't have expressed my thoughts any better!
      • 4 Years Ago
      4.7 million unlocked doors...countless more clandestine evesdropping.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @inteller

        +1. I don't trust the government
      • 4 Years Ago
      2 words.....keyless entry (and it doesn't cost you anything)
        • 4 Years Ago
        And if you own a Ford, you can go to the dealership and have the little number pad that unlocks or locks the car installed...all for $150 or so. Or you can just check the option box when you purchase the vehicle.
      • 4 Years Ago
      shocker, based on your screen name
        • 4 Years Ago
        What are you talking about?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't imagine living without my OnStar!

      way better than any Sync system
        • 4 Years Ago
        "want to knoy why sync is free? cause its by Microsoft... they haven't built anything reilable since.. oh thats right ever... HEY JUST LIKE FORD!"

        Oh look! Another swipe at Microsoft about their supposed unreliability. Care to back up that trite assertion with any facts? I figured you would not - people who make this remark have no used any Microsoft product within at least the past decade - probably because they are Apple users who refuse to consider any other brand.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey GMDouche, Ford has keyless entry keypads on every single one of their models (either standard or as a $295 option... which is LESS than a single year of OnStar) and the best part is you don't need to stop, call OnStar on your phone, give them your pin, and wait for them to unlock your doors, you type the code in the keypad and go.
        Also, I don't know where you've been but Ford added 911 Assist and Vehicle Health reports to SYNC in 2009, and both those features can be installed over older SYNC versions via USB for free (my brother did it on his '08 Milan).
        • 4 Years Ago
        you PAY for what you GET!

        want to knoy why sync is free? cause its by Microsoft... they haven't built anything reilable since.. oh thats right ever... HEY JUST LIKE FORD!

        Thanks but no thanks, my OnStar can unlock my doors, which Ford CANT do, and it also has 911 support for if I get into an accident... oops Ford can't do that either...
        • 4 Years Ago
        In the same 15 years, I've locked myself out of car... zero times.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Considering that OnStar has an annual subscription fee of $300 while Ford's sync is FREE the first 3-years! Plus, OnStar's functionality has fallen way behind MyFord Touch and you see GM trying to add services like text and FaceBook to OnStar... scrambling to "catch-up"...

        Talk to any old analog OnStar user and they got a pile of scrap metal when GM discontinued their subscription service... value? what value? At least Sync is software based and easily upgradable while OnStar is still hardware based boat anchor!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank you Wiggy

        I am glad someone else here gets it
      • 4 Years Ago
      It makes me feel more relaxed when my wife is out by herself. I know if something were to happen I would get a phone call and know what happened and how to get to her regardless of her condition.
      She just gets in drives away and if she’s in an accident they call me, EMS and the cops
      If she come out of the store and the car is gone they can find it and tell the cops where it is.
      That alone is worth the cost and when you throw in not having to sync up the phone every time I get in and the one touch on the fly navigation that mutes the radio so you don’t have to drive in silence or with the tunes turned down low for fear of missing a direction, that’s just gravy.
      They even sent me an email last week when there was a hurricain prediction offering real time navigation out of its path; just get in and press the button.

      Also no dopey screen in the middle of the dash that I have to press OK on every time I start it or that some idiot will want to try to steal.
      It’s there for you when you need it and when you don’t it stays out of your way and you never know its there like a good butler should.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Just think, not having to worry about Mary or Bob, or Kathy and uncle Charley if they don’t show up on time. Because you know that if something has happened to them in the car or they are lost, everything that can be done is being done to help them and you would be notified if they have been hurt.
        All they had to do was get in and start it; anyone that is against that either lives alone in the world or is not thinking this entirely through.

        Why you could even take a nap.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Onstar is great, I honestly have never had an issue with the service, especially its navigation service. It is so much easier than inputting the destination information using a turn dial or crappy voice recognition nav units.

      However, it is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I once locked my keys in my car while picking up my son at school. Calling OnStar was so much easier than walking home and waiting for my wife to come home from work with her set of keys, which would have been the case with my Olds Intrigue.

      I also love the turn-by-turn navigation. Sending directions from Mapquest to the car is much easier than trying to deal with the GPS unit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      what if you lock your phone & keys in the car? Ford has had the combo lock for 20 years.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It might be great, but On-Star has kept me from considering GM products and all other makes that it is installed on. It gives me the creeps. But then I don't like seat heaters and most of the unnecessary features that come on today's cars. They just add costs and cause trouble when they malfunction. To me a car is a fun engine, manual transmission, quality suspension, a/c, and a stereo. OnStar might have made sense when it came out, but today everyone now has a cellphone making it an unnecessary expense. But the part that turns me off the most is the idea that I am so stupid that I am going to lock myself out of my car and need their help!
      • 4 Years Ago
      It was OK for the free year I had it. I really didn't use it at all and can't see spending the money to resubscribe. So instead I bought a Bluestar unit and disconnected the onstar, plugged in the bluestar and now I have bluetooth for my cell phone. I'll use this MUCH more than I'd ever use onstar. Plus no recurring monthly fees.
    • Load More Comments