OnStar Enhancements: Mapquest tie-in, non-stop navigating and expanded real-time traffic coming to GM service
General Motors' OnStar has announced plans to offer two new services and an expanded third, as well as a hook-up with MapQuest.com -- one of the most recognized names in Internet mapping.
OnStar Destination Download, for screen-based navigation systems, allows drivers to input a destination without stopping the car. It takes advantage of the OnStar system this way: the driver hits the OnStar button, tells the voice at the other end where he or she wants to go, and gets directions while on the road. The navigation system calculates the current location of the car or truck.
The second new service is OnStar eNav, which teams the company with MapQuest.com. It's designed for turn-by-turn OnStar navigation (the kind without the nav screen). The driver goes online before getting into the vehicle, downloads and then emails to the OnStar system the desired directions from mapquest.com. The driver can access the turn-by-turn directions by pressing the OnStar button.
For the 2009 model year, OnStar also will expand its XM Nav Traffic to 80 major North American markets and will expand availability to 22 GM models (it made its debut on the 2005 Cadillac CTS).
Availability of the OnStar Destination Download service is limited to 80-percent of GM cars and trucks that are available with screen navigation systems, though, a result of different generation electrical systems. They are: Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado/HD, Suburban, Tahoe and Traverse; GMC Acadia, Sierra/HD and Yukon/XL; Buick Enclave and Lucerne; Cadillac CTS, DTS and Escalade/ESV/EXT.
And the Destination Download and OnStar eNav means OnStar has the capability to add Internet services into GM cars. However, OnStar President Chet Huber said the company would seriously study the safety implications of and the real demand for such technology before offering it in cars and trucks.