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OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown Service coming in '09

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OnStar system will be able to halt stolen cars
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Tom Krisher | Associated Press | Link to Original Article @ DetNews


DETROIT -- Say some clown steals your car from the parking deck at work.

If it's equipped with General Motors' OnStar service, he could be in for a big surprise and you could get a little revenge -- and even see your car again.

Starting with about 20 models for 2009, the service will be able to slowly halt a car that is reported stolen, and the radio may even speak up and tell the thief to pull over because police are watching.

OnStar already finds 700 to 800 cars per month using the global positioning system. With the new technology, which OnStar President Chet Huber said GM will apply to the rest of its lineup in future years, OnStar would call police and tell them a stolen car's whereabouts.

Then, if officers see the car in motion and judge it can be stopped safely, they can tell OnStar operators, who will send the car a signal via cell phone to slow it to a halt.

"This technology will basically remove the control of the horsepower from the thief," Huber said. "Everything else in the vehicle works. The steering works. The brakes work."

GM is still exploring the possibility of having the car give a recorded verbal warning before it stops moving. A voice would tell the driver through the radio speakers that police will stop the car, Huber said, and the car's emergency flashers would go on.

"If the thief does nothing else it will coast to a stop. But they can drive off to the side of the road," Huber said.

With the current version of OnStar, drivers can call operators for emergency help, and OnStar operators will contact a car if its sensors detect a crash. The service has about 5 million subscribers.

Those who want OnStar but don't like police having the ability to slow down their car can opt out of the service, Huber said. But he said their research shows that 95 percent of subscribers would like that feature.

OnStar, including the first year's subscription fee, is standard on most of GM's 2008 vehicles. After the first year, the subscription price is $16.95 a month.


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NHTSA praises new OnStar vehicle slowdown service
David Shepardson | Detroit News Washington Bureau | Link to Original Article @ DetNews

WASHINGTON -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration praised new OnStar technology that can cut power to stolen vehicles, eliminating the need for high-speed police pursuit.

NHTSA says about 30,000 police chases occur yearly and approximately 300 deaths occur as a result of those chases.

General Motors Corp. on Monday debuted the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown of its OnStar service. It allows OnStar advisors working with law enforcement to send a signal to a subscriber's stolen vehicle which reduces engine power, slowing the vehicle down gradually.

GM today held a press conference at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate the new technology.

"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."

NHTSA was on hand for the demonstration.

"Technology should not just entertain us or make us more comfortable, it should make us safer," said NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason. "We applaud innovations such as the kind GM is embracing that will make our roads better, our passengers more protected and our drivers safer."

Powered by OnStar's newest generation of hardware, GM will make Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available on nearly 1.7 million Model Year 2009 vehicles --or about 20 models. GM's largest division, Chevrolet, will account for more than 60 percent of the total vehicles equipped with this new technology.

"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, the Fraternal Order of Police's national vice president. "Since 1996, OnStar has assisted the law enforcement community by helping to locate stolen vehicles."

Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance uses Global Positioning Satellite technology to pinpoint the location of a vehicle that has been reported stolen. OnStar provides the location to law enforcement to assist with the vehicle's recovery. OnStar receives approximately 700 Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance requests from subscribers a month -- and OnStar has helped in 28,000 requests over the past decade, the company said.

Company research shows 95 percent of OnStar subscribers want the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service available on their cars and trucks.
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Lo-Jack sucks, Had that put on my original 2004 cts and realized with onstar I really did not need it.

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this is going to make three key people happy. insurance company, owner, and body shops( less happy than the fisrt two though). no need for spike strips or pit manuvers to bring them to a hault. i thought they were going to start using guns that hit fleeing vehicles with emp charges though... does that use the bar with prongs or is that just in the movies?

Edited by cletus8269
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I was just thinking... If the owner is accused of commiting a crime will the authorities have the right to use OnStar to slow you down and stop? Good if the owner is is guilty but what if he is not?

I don't know how much I like this idea... I think this can lead to a greater invasion of privacy, but this is just my opinion. :confused0071:

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They need to get the security real tight and right. Huge opportunity of an "DoS attack" to your car. Otherwise it's a brilliant idea.

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I was just thinking... If the owner is accused of commiting a crime will the authorities have the right to use OnStar to slow you down and stop? Good if the owner is is guilty but what if he is not?

I don't know how much I like this idea... I think this can lead to a greater invasion of privacy, but this is just my opinion. :confused0071:

Guilty or not, why would the police need to use this OnStar feature unless they were in pursuit and the owner wasn't pulling over?

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Sounds like a really great feature, and more than 10 years on the market and no other car makers has such a successful network of communication such as OnStar. :thumbsup:

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I just hope no one can hack into the system.

This was one of my first thoughts about it, too, when I saw it on the news earlier.

Very interestingly cool feature, though....

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On the surface, it is a great idea and gives OnStar yet another song to sing; however, I am somewhat wary on where this technology is heading. Clearly, we are going to see the day when the 'authorities' will demand access to this technology.

Alas, I am afraid we will have no choice but to acquiesce. There are too many nutjobs out there and eventually the public will demand more and greater powers of surveillance for the 'authorities.'

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it would be nice if gm could convince insurance companies to sponser the purchase of onstar... or give considerable discount...

it really reduces risk...

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On-Star is so easy for thieves to defeat that insurance companies don't see the value

They don't give you additional discounts because it's not third party. It's been factored into the car's base premium.
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This is another excellent OnStar feature, only the people who use their vehicles for criminal activity should be concerned about the Police requesting OnStar activate this feature.

OnStar is already used when the owner gives permission to track the stolen vehicle and Police can the make an arrest without a dangerous pursuit. All this feature has to do is save one life and its worthwhile.

You have to remember, driving is a privilage, not a right. It is subject to certain checks by Police that have been upheld by the courts. Police can stop any vehicle to check, documentation of the vehicle, documentation of the driver, mechanical condition of the vehicle, and sobriety of the driver. If you got nothing to hide, pull over and do what your told and you will have nothing to worry about. The police are far too busy to waste time with regular law abiding drivers when there is lots of idiots out there to deal with. :banghead:

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This is another excellent OnStar feature, only the people who use their vehicles for criminal activity should be concerned about the Police requesting OnStar activate this feature.

OnStar is already used when the owner gives permission to track the stolen vehicle and Police can the make an arrest without a dangerous pursuit. All this feature has to do is save one life and its worthwhile.

You have to remember, driving is a privilage, not a right. It is subject to certain checks by Police that have been upheld by the courts. Police can stop any vehicle to check, documentation of the vehicle, documentation of the driver, mechanical condition of the vehicle, and sobriety of the driver. If you got nothing to hide, pull over and do what your told and you will have nothing to worry about. The police are far too busy to waste time with regular law abiding drivers when there is lots of idiots out there to deal with. :banghead:

Anybody who doesn't think we are headed for a Police State, had better give themselves a shake. I used to live in Wasaga Beach (a quiet little resort town that swells to over 100k people in the summer) where they would hire 20 or so extra cops every April to augment the force over the summer crowds, but what would they do during the quiet weeknights leading up to the summer? Road blocks, Soviet-style. All traffic funneled into the Lion's Club parking lot, for a 'spot' check. Great fun for the locals coming home late from work, getting stopped night after night.

Oh, and on my trip to California two weeks ago, I was stuck in a 45 minute traffic snarl (crawling at 15 mph, start and stop) on hwy 15 into California from Vegas, for (get ready for this) an 'agricultual inspection.' That's right: a 20 mile back up of traffic so they can arrest some fruit and vegetables. In America, the Land of the Free.

It's a slippery slope, my friend. It isn't a matter of having 'nothing to hide:" it's a matter of the right to free movement and giving the police wide, discretionary powers in the name of 'safety' or 'security.' We live in countries where not too long ago, having too many male names in a personal phone book was enough for being refused entry into the country. I, for one, am not overly thrilled with giving the police too many powers.

OnStar is a great concept, but what seems 'cool' today will be 'demanded' in the future.

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This feature has to do is save one life and its worthwhile.

You have to remember, driving is a privilage, not a right.

Not around here it isn't. And that may be the problem. Once you hit that certain age that's it...you can drive now!

That $h! doesnt fly everywhere else. And people do take it for granted.

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