OnStar capability assists subscribers
in stolen car cases
car chases may be a thing of the past
thanks to OnStar's most recent technology.
The GM safety service has developed a
prototype technology that could save lives
(and money) by remotely slowing down a
stolen vehicle's engine in the event of
a police chase.
The new technology - known as Stolen
Vehicle Slowdown - is the latest
enhancement to OnStar's stolen vehicle
service. The program allows OnStar advisors
and law enforcement agencies to work together
during a car theft by sending a signal
to the subscriber's stolen vehicle, reducing
its engine power and gradually slowing
it down. The service will be included
in the one-year OnStar subscription customers
receive when purchasing an eligible Model
Year 2009 OnStar-equipped vehicle.
"From its inception, the motivation
behind OnStar has been the safety and
security of our subscribers and others
on the road," said Chet Huber, OnStar
president. "Every service we add
builds on this original promise. The Stolen
Vehicle Slowdown service will allow our
subscribers added peace of mind by possibly
preventing their vehicle from being used
as an instrument of harm if it happens
to be stolen."
According to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly
30,000 police chases occur each year,
resulting in approximately 300 deaths.
"Technology should not just entertain
us or make us more comfortable, it should
make us safer," said Nicole R. Nason,
administrator of the NHTSA. "We applaud
innovations such as the kind GM is embracing
that will make our roads better, our passengers
more protected and our drivers safer."
Many law enforcement agencies are also
embracing the upcoming technology provided
"We look forward to having technologies
like Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available
to aid our officers in apprehending suspected
car thieves and keeping our officers,
highways and citizens safe," said
David Hiller, national vice president
of the Fraternal Order of Police. "Since
1996, OnStar has assisted the law enforcement
community by helping to locate stolen
Powered by OnStar's newest generation
of hardware, Generation 8, GM will make
Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available on nearly
1.7 million Model Year 2009 vehicles.
GM's largest division, Chevrolet, will
be leading the way, making up more than
60 percent of the vehicles to be equipped
with the new technology. Stolen Vehicle
Slowdown is an enhancement to OnStar's
Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, which
the company began offering to its subscribers
Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance uses
Global Positioning Satellite technology
to pinpoint the location of a vehicle
that has been reported stolen. OnStar
provides this location to law enforcement
to assist with the vehicle's recovery.
Every month, OnStar receives approximately
700 Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance
requests from subscribers. In the past
decade, the company has helped in 28,000
According to Chief Steven P. Westermann,
president of the International Association
of Fire Chiefs, Stolen Vehicle Slowdown
could help prevent many dangerous road
and neighborhood scenarios.
"The IAFC sees this technology as
an opportunity to improve the likelihood
of a positive outcome for all involved
in such dangerous road situations. On
behalf of all firefighters, we appreciate
the research and commitment of General
Motors to tackle these issues and come
up with a safe solution."
Stolen Vehicle Slowdown process
the vehicle has been reported stolen
to law enforcement, the subscriber can
call OnStar and request Stolen Vehicle
Location Assistance. OnStar will confirm
the subscriber has not opted out of
the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service.
will use real-time GPS technology to
pinpoint the exact location of the stolen
vehicle and provide this information
to law enforcement agencies to help
them recover the vehicle.
law enforcement has established a clear
line of sight for the stolen vehicle,
it may request OnStar slow the vehicle
will be in place to ensure that the
correct vehicle is slowed down.
then sends a remote signal to the vehicle
that interacts with the powertrain system
to reduce engine power, slowing the
vehicle down gradually.
has shown that 95 percent of OnStar subscribers
want the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service
available on their cars and trucks. OnStar
subscribers have the choice to opt-out
of the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service
at any time by contacting OnStar. This
will not affect the rest of the driver's