Ford Soon Launching Emergency-Response System To Rival GM's OnStar
October 24, 2008
Ford is soon releasing the 911 Assist system, its answer to GM's OnStar. The biggest difference between the two emergency-response systems is that the 911 Assist system is free of charge. 911 Assist is linked directly with Ford's Sync multimedia system and will place emergency calls directly though the driver's cell-phone to a 911 operator. The OnStar system relies on an imbedded communication device and communicates with an OnStar operator rather than a direct 911 operator.
The 911 Assist system will automatically activate when airbags are deployed in a collision. A rear-mounted inertia monitor actives the 911 Assist system if it detects a severe impact and the airbags don't deploy. Fender-benders will not activate the inertia monitor, and drivers who do not want emergency assistance have 10 seconds to deactivate the system when it has been activated. Ford worked directly with the National Emergency Number Association and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials in developing 911 Assist.
GM counters Ford's claim of a superior emergency response system by saying that OnStar is more dependable, given the chances that a cell-phone might be thrown from a vehicle during a collision. Additionally, the cellular antenna is placed on top of the vehicle, increasing the chances of getting a connection compared to Ford's 911 Assist. OnStar charges from $18 to $28 per month for its services.
911 Assist will be available on 12 Sync-equipped Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles for 2008. Eight more models will be Sync-equipped in 2009.
Source: Ward's Auto