Since its inception in 1995, General Motors' OnStar system has benefited many vehicle owners. OnStar helps drivers by providing in-vehicle security, turn-by-turn navigation, automatic crash notification, hands-free calling, remote diagnostics and other services. Now OnStar also provides stolen vehicle assistance, which could yield OnStar an Edison Award.
The stolen vehicle assistance system uses OnStar's existing technology infrastructure, which includes GPS, vehicle telemetry and cellular communications. If someone swipes your car, you notify the police, who work with OnStar to ascertain the vehicle's location.
Once the cops have your car in sight and are sure that there are no bystanders who might be harmed, they can request that OnStar remotely shut down the car by putting it into idle. Steering and braking controls will still work, but the thief will be unable to accelerate or otherwise attempt a perilous high-speed getaway.
The system could drastically reduce the numbers of chases that occur, saving lives and property. And you might just get your car back in one piece, too. The catch? You have to be a full subscriber to the stolen vehicle assistance service, or OnStar can't help you.