Chevy and OnStar Plus Smart Phone
Chevrolet and OnStar, the subscription-based service that allows subscribers to talk to a representative at anytime for anything from directions to making hotel reservations, is integrating its communication platform with your phone. In a brief tech demo, we got to see how the Motorola Droid (although any of today’s smart phones with downloadable applications will also work) can connect to the car via a 3G connection.
This communication allows for several rudimentary functions we’ve seen in the past, including locking and unlocking the car, starting it from a distance to warm up, and honking the horn. The first car to implement this connection is the Chevy Volt, due out later this year. The Volt's hybrid engine system can also be charged by plugging it directly into an electrical outlet.
Because charging can be expensive, another function of the phone application is to remotely start or stop the process. At peak hours, charging a vehicle can be costly, so now users can plug their cars in immediately after parking, and start charging when they choose. Statistics on charge levels and the drivable distance on the current charge are included in the application.
Notifications inform owners that the battery is low or fully charged, that the car requires service or repair, and other alerts. Whether or not alerts will be sent to your smart phone when the car's alarm goes off has not yet been announced, although OnStar vehicles are all traceable.
Several features have intentionally been left out of the application, such as turning the engine off so users don’t accidentally stop the car when driving. Controls are fairly limited to the car’s internal components, although anything OnStar can remotely control can theoretically be controlled with the application.
The application will be free to all users who purchase the Chevy Volt, although, of course, registration is required to make it work with your specific vehicle.