1.7 Million GM Cars Will Be Equipped With OnStar's "Stolen Vehicle Slowdown" Software in 2009

October 23 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Security   Year: 2009   Rating: 9 Hot

General Motors (GM) and OnStar have successfully demonstrated a prototype technology called Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, which does exactly that – it allows OnStar advisors working with law enforcement to send a signal to a subscriber’s stolen vehicle to reduce engine power, slowing the vehicle down gradually.

The exact process for Stolen Vehicle Slowdown (at right) goes as follows:

- Once the vehicle has been reported stolen to law enforcement, the subscriber can call OnStar and request Stolen Vehicle Assistance. OnStar will confirm the subscriber has not opted out of the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service.

- OnStar uses real-time GPS technology to attempt to pinpoint the exact location of the stolen vehicle and provide this information to law enforcement to help them recover the vehicle.

- When law enforcement has established a clear line of sight of the stolen vehicle, law enforcement may request OnStar to slow it down remotely.

- OnStar then sends a remote signal to the vehicle that interacts with the Powertrain system to reduce engine power which will slow the vehicle down gradually.

Worried that the wrong car might be targeted? OnStar insists that “Safeguards will be in place to ensure that the correct vehicle is slowed down.”

Stolen Vehicle Slowdown comes along just as more people are installing automobile kill switches to protect their property, bring down insurance rates and protect innocent bystanders in the event of a high speed chase.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, about 30,000 police chases occur yearly and approximately 300 deaths occur as a result of those chases. Kill switches could have a major impact on these casualties.

“Technology should not just entertain us or make us more comfortable, it should make us safer,” said Nicole R. Nason, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “We applaud innovations such as the kind GM is embracing that will make our roads better, our passengers more protected and our drivers safer.”

If it doesn’t go out of business before then, GM plans make Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available on nearly 1.7 million of its 2009 vehicles. GM’s largest division, Chevrolet, will be leading the way with more than 60 percent of the total vehicles equipped with this new technology.

Big Brother: Insurance companies and the U.S. federal government have been pushing such programs for years and they are very likely to get their way unless an unexpected consumer back-lash suddenly changes things. Having already accepted to broad inclusion of speed-gauging black boxes in vehicles that can help “convict”: https://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2909 or exonerate drivers in accidents, this seems highly improbable considering the public benefits of kill switches and lack out outcry to date.

It’s yet another example of more advanced quantification that makes sense for many of the parties concerned. I see no reason not to expect more, smarter, cheaper systems over the coming years. In fact, some really cool future systems like automated highways and flying car air lanes could totally depend on such developments.

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