Vauxhall will soon start preparing the groundwork for General Motors’ long-awaited satellite-linked OnStar system.
The company claims OnStar will offer European customers a variety of functions, ranging from the monitoring of their car's vital functions to post-crash emergency service alerts.
Early next year, a team of OnStar experts from the USA, where the system has been operational since 1996, is due to provide guidance to technicians from Vauxhall and their Opel counterparts on setting up the network and infrastructure required to operate one of the most sophisticated vehicle intelligence platforms.
Vauxhall’s head of product planning Stuart Harris believes the subscription-based technology can be operational on all new Vauxhalls incorporating the appropriate electronic architecture by 2016. These include the recently revised Insignia, plus the upcoming next generation Astra and Corsa.
GM vehicle owners in the USA plus Canada and China pay for different OnStar packages on a graduated subscription basis. Services are relayed either via the vehicle’s mulitmedia network or through smartphones and computer tablets.
Harris said the foundations would be laid for multi-lingual European call centres, which require category-five status data-processing security. Vauxhall managers are to decide how wide the suite of services on offer will be. Features include theft alerts, vehicle tracking and the ability to remotely limit a stolen car’s speed or isolate its ignition.
Drivers who lose car keys or lock them inside the vehicle can use a smartphone code to allow an OnStar operator, via satellites, to reopen the car. Equally, airbag deployment is monitored and registered to despatch emergency services to crash locations via high-scale GPS co-ordinates.
Car servicing reminders can be issued via the system and warnings provided for problems such as tyre and brake pad wear, plus headlight or tail-light bulb failures, as well as transmitting reports on engine oil degradation. On a more mundane level, the satellite navigation element provides route guidance to the nearest cinema complex or fast food outlet.