How Does OnStar Work?

by Contributor

OnStar is a vehicle option that gained popularity over the past few years. It is the brainchild of GM and two other companies, EDS and Hughes Electronics Corporation. In 1996, these three companies collaborated together in order to offer the public roadside assistance in an innovative way. It was a way to compete in a market continuing to be dominated by foreign car manufacturers. GM did succeed in gaining the attention of car shoppers with OnStar. A lot of people responded to their commercials. Also, consumers had a lot of questions about the service. Mainly, car shoppers want to understand how OnStar works.

OnStar works with push button technology. How? A blue OnStar button is installed in a vehicle and acts as the connector to roadside service. When a consumer pushes the OnStar button, signals are transmitted to the OnStar call center. These signals are then decoded to relay pertinent information to an OnStar representative such as the name, address and vehicle of the caller. This button also acts as a built-in cell phone. So, a live OnStar representative can speak to a customer instantly from inside his or her car. It allows the representative to assist the caller in a variety of ways from navigation to calling out for a tow truck.

The key to the success of OnStar's signaling device is a well-crafted satellite system. It is similar to what is used in a lot of wireless technology. This satellite system is able to pick up signals from almost anywhere, which allows OnStar representatives to track calls like an operator in a cell phone company. It is also allows OnStar representatives to diagnose vehicle problems and send signals to do pertinent things like unlock a car door. This satellite system is basically at the core to the communication that goes on with OnStar representatives and their clients.

To date, GM continues to alter their OnStar package in order to meet the needs of a changing society that demands more and more in a car. The amount of time most people spend in their car is great. As a result, GM appears to be making the most of this aspect of life. It is apparent that GM has tapped into the pulse of consumers because now copycat companies exist. One is called "OnCall." It's a sign that roadside service is no longer going to be regulated to a consumers access to a hand held cell phone or roadside emergency phone.

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