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Old 10-09-2008, 05:25 PM   #1
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Default New OnStar service hits brakes on high-speed chases

New OnStar service hits brakes on high-speed chases

Leslie J. Allen
Automotive News
October 9, 2008 - 10:55 am ET

OnStar has a message for car thieves: Not so fast.

The General Motors unit today activated its Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service, which sends a signal that remotely slows down a vehicle that has been reported stolen in the United States or Canada. OnStar says the service should reduce some of the 30,000 high-speed police pursuits in the United States each year.
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The technology will be integrated into the OnStar hardware on more than a million 2009 GM vehicles. Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is an enhancement of a vehicle location service that OnStar has offered since 1996.

Here's how it works: A subscriber reports a stolen vehicle to the police and OnStar. An OnStar adviser uses global positioning satellite technology to find the vehicle and provides that location to law enforcement.

Once police officers can see the vehicle and conditions are considered safe, the police can request a slowdown. OnStar then sends a signal to activate the hazard lights to make sure police are following the correct vehicle.

Next, OnStar reduces engine power to take the vehicle to idle speed. Other systems, such as power steering and brakes, still will work. Customers can opt out of the service.

PRESS RELEASE: OnStar Launches Stolen Vehicle Slowdown

New technology will assist public safety officials in OnStar stolen vehicle cases, help save lives

DETROIT General Motors (GM) and OnStar today launched Stolen Vehicle Slowdown on more than 1 million model year 2009 GM vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is the latest enhancement to OnStar's Stolen Vehicle Assistance service and enables OnStar to further help law enforcement in the recovery of subscribers' stolen vehicles, while helping to reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from police chases. Working with law enforcement and utilizing its unique built-in technology, OnStar can remotely send a signal that interacts with the vehicle's engine, gradually slowing it down, aiding in a safe recovery.

"No other automaker provides its' customers the peace of mind that OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown does," said Chet Huber, OnStar president. "Our subscribers have told us they don't want their vehicle to be the instrument of harm."

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show 30,000 police chases occur each year, resulting in approximately 300 deaths. Stolen Vehicle Slowdown will help take high speed pursuits out of the equation, as well as the probability that a subscriber's stolen vehicle will be crashed during a chase.

"Prior to Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, there were only three ways to stop a police chase; the officer elects to terminate the chase, the vehicle being pursued decides to stop or in the worse case scenario there is a crash," said David Hiller, national vice president, Fraternal Order of Police. "With OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown we now have an additional and obviously far safer method. We congratulate GM and OnStar for working with law enforcement as they developed this product."

GM will integrate the capability on more than 1 million model year 2009 vehicles through OnStar's newest generation of hardware, Generation 8. Chevrolet, GM's largest division, will lead the effort with over half a million Chevrolet vehicles equipped with Stolen Vehicle Slowdown.

How Stolen Vehicle Slowdown Works

Once an OnStar subscriber has reported a stolen vehicle to law enforcement, he or she can call OnStar and request Stolen Vehicle Assistance. An OnStar advisor will use advanced Global Positioning Satellite technology to pinpoint the exact location of the stolen vehicle which will be provided only to law enforcement.

Once law enforcement officials have the stolen vehicle in a clear line of sight to know conditions are safe, they can request that the OnStar advisor remotely slow it down. OnStar will then send a signal to the vehicle's engine, reducing engine power and gradually slowing the vehicle to idle speed while all other vehicle systems remain fully operational including power steering and brakes.

Because involvement from local law enforcement agencies is key to the safe execution of Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, OnStar conducted a 25-city public safety outreach tour across the United States to familiarize the public safety community with this revolutionary service, and let them experience the technology first-hand.

Subscribers who prefer not to have the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown capability on their vehicle may contact OnStar to opt out of the service at any time. The rest of their OnStar services will remain active and unaffected.

OnStar has offered Stolen Vehicle Assistance services with GPS location since 1996. It now receives approximately 700 Stolen Vehicle Assistance requests from subscribers each month, and has helped in 38,000 requests over the past twelve years. OnStar's suite of services also includes Automatic Crash Response, Emergency Services, Remote Door Unlock, Roadside Assistance, Crisis Assist, OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Hands Free Calling and OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics.

OnStar 's Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is available exclusively on GM vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. The service is included in the OnStar subscription that comes standard for one year on eligible MY 2009 OnStar-equipped vehicles. For more information regarding OnStar's services, please visit www.onstar.com.

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