Sometimes at Road Show, we talk about connected cars like they're some kind of way off fantasy future concept.
But the reality is, millions of drivers have been enjoying telematics for more than a decade.
Case in point, GM's OnStar.
It's arguably the first production connected car system.
Now to better appreciate where the industry is headed, I first mosied on over to GM HQ in Detroit to see where we already are.
You have probably heard about On-Star.
For about $25.00 a month they can give you emergency crash response, deliver a gallon of gas.
Heck, they can even give you turn by turn navigation.
But, did you know they can also slow down you stolen vehicle.
Yep, the white hackers at OnStar can make sure that those bad guys never even make it to the chop shop.
In fact, this tech is celebrating its ten year anniversary right now.
But even most OnStar equipped vehicle owners don't even know it's there, let alone how it works.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 2017 saw the theft of 773,139 cars.
Almost 170,000 of those cars from my home state of California.
Officers can't just request that OnStar slow down any old GM vehicle.
The owner of the vehicle must first file a stolen vehicle report.
Copy dispacth, go ahead.
I'm just calling in a stolen 2003-
OnStar then uses GPS and aerial imagery to locate the vehicle and send that information to the police.
Once the cops get to the scene and get a positive ID on the car OnStar turns on the hazards for one more visual check.
The indicators inside the vehicle remain off so the bad guy has no idea that OnStar is onto their thievery.
Copy dispatch, I have a visual on said Silverado.
Copy dispatch, I have a visual on, hazards flashing.
When the officer determines that it's safe, OnStar slows the car to an idle speed.
No matter how hard that throttle is pressed, the vehicle will not accelerate.
The brakes and steering are not affected, however.
So the idea is that the confused thief will pull over and be easily nabbed by the police.
And if a thief thinks that a reboot will fix the problem, OnStar also sends an ignition block.
So once the vehicle is turned off, it cannot be turned on again.
Alright, so essentially, On Star has slowed this car all the way down to about one or two miles an hour so that the officers can get in front of the car, or the thief would pull over and attempt to run.
It's basically a way to make everything safer.
You're gonna have fewer police pursuits, which is safer for the officers as well as for the general public.
All right, punk, get your hands on that truck.
And remember, you have the right to remain silent.
I didn't do it [UNKNOWN].
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
2018 marks the ten year anniversary of this vehicle slowdown technology.
And to date, OnStar has performed about 1,000 of these maneuvers.
Now if you're concerned about cybersecurity and privacy, I know I am, On Star is built into these vehicles from the ground up.
And then on top of that, there are multiple layers of security.
So it's gonna be really hard for a bad guy to get in there.
There are other similar technologies out there like BMW Assist, Toyota Safety Connect, and Honda Link.
And while Although systems can help you find your stolen vehicle, they don't offer the slowdown feature, like OnStar.
It may be ancient, in terms of technology, but OnStar is still the winner, if your car gets stolen.