GM’s OnStar is leveraging Google technology to develop a number of new mobile app features that it says will ‘strengthen Chevrolet’s commitment to providing Volt customers with the most connected vehicle experience possible’.
GM says the public will get a peek at what OnStar is working on at the Google I/O conference May 19-20 in San Francisco, CA, where OnStar will debut and demonstrate new functionalities they’re developing for the Chevrolet Volt mobile application leveraging the Android platform.
“While OnStar will never lose sight of our core focus on safety and security, this relationship is an example of how we’re evolving our leadership position in connected vehicle technology,” said Chris Preuss, OnStar president. “What we’re talking about today is only the beginning.”
However, some analysts questioned GM’s approach in hooking up the innovative new technology to one vehicle line only.
“The collaboration between OnStar and Google gives GM a big marketing boost and a great technology partner,” said Doug Newcomb, Senior Technology Editor for Edmunds.com.
“But the approach ignores millions of phones that are already out there. And since this is only applicable to the Volt, it seems that GM is putting a lot of its tech eggs in one basket, as opposed to Sync, which is available pretty much across the board on Ford vehicles.”
GM says that a new ‘navigation’ tab has been added to the home screen of the existing Chevrolet Volt mobile app on the Android smartphone. When a Volt owner presses this tab, they will be able to see the current location of their Volt pinpointed on Google Maps, as well as their location relative to it.
From this map screen, owners can use Google search by voice to vocally search for a destination with their Android handset, and see where that destination is related to the Volt’s current location.
They can then elect to send the destination from their Android phone to their Volt and have OnStar Turn-By-Turn directions to their destination waiting for them when they start the vehicle.
Additionally, the owner will also have the option to get voice-guided directions to their vehicle from their current location, using Google Maps Navigation.
The new functionalities won’t be available on the Volt mobile app at launch, but are planned for a 2.0 version.
The smartphone mobile application for the Chevrolet Volt made its debut at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show and is planned to launch in tandem with the Volt this fall. Launch features include:
- Charge status display – plugged in or not and voltage (120V or 240V)
- Flexibility to “Charge Now” or schedule charge timing
- Display percentage of battery charge level, electric and total ranges
- Ability to manually set grid-friendly charge mode for off-peak times when electricity rates are lowest
- Send text or email notifications for charge reminders, interruptions and full charge
- Display miles per gallon, electric only miles, and odometer readings
- Shows miles per gallon, EV miles and miles driven for last trip and lifetime
- Remotely start the vehicle to pre-condition the interior temperature
“These two new features add to the suite of mobile application features for Volt that give Volt owners a personal connection to their car,” said Tony DiSalle, Chevrolet Volt marketing director.
“Connecting customers to their cars is one way we’re using technology to provide value and a real useful benefit to the Volt owner.”