California Autos Examiner

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hello OnStar? The vehicle I just stole won't start

This graphic shows the components of RIB

OnStar has been on a tear as of late, pumping out new features to compete with the likes of Microsoft's SYNC technology (which has performed extremely well for Ford).

OnStar isn't the greatest at providing a lot of media photos, but that didn't stop this author from rooting around the media closet for a few gems and adding his own snarky remarks. Check out the pictures in this slideshow.

The big difference in OnStar's eyes is that it has the cellular capability and related hardware all baked into the car which not only makes it harder to disable, but also allows for a wider range of functionality. Therefore, OnStar has taken great pains to maximize the strengths of its built in platform. A new wave of Stolen Vehicle Assistance services is being rolled out with one of the first being Stolen Vehicle Slowdown and now a service called Remote Ignition Block.

Remote Ignition Block and will allow an OnStar Advisor to send a remote signal to a subscriber’s stolen vehicle to prevent the vehicle from restarting once the ignition is turned off. This capability will not only help authorities recover stolen vehicles, but can also prevent dangerous high speed pursuits from starting.

“Remote Ignition Block is a prime example of the rapid pace of technological innovation underway at OnStar. We are developing services desired by our subscribers that deliver important societal benefits as well,” said Chet Huber, OnStar president.

Remote Ignition Block builds on OnStar’s growing suite of Stolen Vehicle Assistance services which includes GPS technology that pinpoints a stolen vehicle’s exact location and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown® which can remotely slow a stolen vehicle to idle speed.

OnStar will make Remote Ignition Block available on select over 2 million GM 2009 and 2010 model year vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.

The process for deployment:

• An OnStar subscriber reports their vehicle stolen to authorities and requests stolen vehicle assistance from OnStar.

• Law enforcement provides confirmation to the OnStar Advisor that the vehicle is in fact stolen.

• The OnStar Advisor pinpoints the vehicle’s exact GPS location and sends a remote signal to prevent stolen vehicle from starting the next time someone attempts to start it.

• On select models, authorities can also request Stolen Vehicle Slowdown if they have a clear line of sight of the stolen vehicle and confirm that conditions are safe to slow down the vehicle.

“Technology like Stolen Vehicle Slowdown and now Remote Ignition Block will improve the chances of apprehending suspected car thieves and are great assets to the law enforcement community” said Michigan’s Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. “Removing an instrument of harm from the hands of criminals improves the safety of our officers, our highways and our citizens” said Bouchard.

For more than 13 years, OnStar has helped authorities in locating tens of thousands of stolen vehicles in order to assist with their safe and quick recovery. OnStar receives approximately 600 Stolen Vehicle Assistance requests from subscribers each month and has helped in over 28,000 requests over the past decade.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reports, there were 1,095,769 vehicles stolen in the U.S. in 2007, equating to one motor vehicle stolen every 28.8 seconds. Stolen vehicle incidents can turn into dangerous high speed pursuits; at least 300 people die as a result of the more than 30,000 high speed police chases that happen every year. With capabilities such as Stolen Vehicle Slowdown and now Remote Ignition Block, OnStar subscribers have the added peace of mind knowing their vehicle can be prevented from being used as an instrument of harm. In fact, 97% of OnStar subscribers surveyed said they would like Remote Ignition Block capability on their vehicles.

For more info: Visit OnStar's website.
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