CES 2015

OnStar is AtYourService with clever, money-saving new features

GM promises to improve your driving, diagnose the car, and help you shop

Published: January 05, 2015 05:00 PM
OnStar seeks to identify problems before they occur.

Ever want to be rewarded by lower insurance premiums for good driving? What if your car could give you a heads-up that a critical component was about to fail? And how many times have you been aching for a caffeine fix but can’t find a haven of java replenishment anywhere? The 2015 CES extravaganza in Las Vegas is where GM’s OnStar announced answers to all these dilemmas and more.

Beginning this summer, OnStar customers can sign up for a service that can assess their driving data and possibly lead to discounts from Progressive Insurance.

Once signed up to the program, OnStar will detail your driving for a 90-day evaluation period. The assessment will reveal how you performed in important driving metrics, comparing your data against an aggregate of other anonymous, enrolled customers. Driving tips will be provided by OnStar based on a customer’s individual assessment characteristics.

After the assessment, drivers can choose to share this data with Progressive through its Snapshot program, which could lead to insurance discounts. GM says this information sharing will be entirely voluntary following advanced consent from customers.

This program is expected to be available for all 2016 GM models, most 2015 models, and select 2013 and 2014 models, starting this summer. The program is only expected to be available for U.S. drivers at this time.

Also at the consumer electronics show, OnStar previewed AtYourService, which looks to pair drivers with retailers and merchants, while providing information and discounts tied to where you’re going. Specifically, OnStar has partnered like Dunkin’ Donuts and Priceline.com—to help you buzz-up on coffee when you’re feeling bushed and to assist you in helping to locate hotels and book reservations. Subscribers can give advisors the general location where they would like to stay and advisors can select from Priceline’s participating hotels in that area. Also, digital coupon providers RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book will give out retail and shopping coupons. Parkopedia will serve data for parking nationwide, and Audiobooks.com will supply e-book content to drivers on the road. When a driver requests directions to a point of interest that has an applicable deal or connection to one of its partners, the OnStar advisor can send the special offer from that merchant.

AtYourService will roll out in the United States and Canada, where OnStar says it annually receives more than 35 million requests for directions and supports more than 53 million mobile app interactions.

Finally, OnStar is trying to take the guess-work out of anticipating when your car is going to break. Later this year, Chevrolet customers will have the chance to use advanced connected vehicle technology to predict and notify them when certain components need attention—in many cases before vehicle performance is impacted.

Initially, the system will focus on potential failures of the battery, starter motor, and fuel pump. Additional vehicle parts and components are expected to be added in future model years.

Using its OnStar 4G LTE connectivity platform, the system can actively monitor a vehicle’s component health and notify the owner if these components need attention. If you have a vehicle with this system in place, the data is sent to OnStar’s secure servers and proprietary algorithms are applied to assess whether certain conditions could impact vehicle performance. If it senses something awry, you’ll get an email, text message, or in-vehicle alerts or through the OnStar RemoteLink smartphone app. Other features expected to help in advanced vehicle diagnostics include monitoring tire pressure, oil life, and other key data points via the OnStar RemoteLink smartphone app or through a monthly diagnostic email sent from the vehicle.

This service is expected to be available on select 2016 Chevrolet Corvette, Equinox, Tahoe, Silverado, Silverado HD, and Suburban models equipped with certain powertrains, followed by more Chevrolet vehicles throughout the 2016 model year.

—Mike Quincy

Click on the image above to find all of Consumer Reports' coverage from CES 2015.

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