We had an opportunity last Friday to play with the new "Stolen Vehicle Slowdown System" from OnStar. It's basically an additional feature the folks behind GM's little blue button have added to their already well-equipped utility belt for over 1.7 million 2008 GM vehicles. What happens is this — if you report your car as stolen, you can then call OnStar and have them work with law enforcement to use the car's GPS system to find where your vehicle's located. OnStar will then have the police make visual contact with your vehicle and once they've determined it's safe to do it, will shut down the drivers ability to manually control acceleration. Basically, they shut down the accelerator, causing the vehicle to coast to an idle speed — but not causing the driver to lose steering or braking control. At the point in which the vehicle comes to a stop (or close to it — idle speed) — the police can then apprehend the "perp." We tried it ourselves — and it seems to work as advertised — and we've got to admit while not exciting, it's kinda a cool feature. Not quite as cool as how GM/OnStar got the talent from the "Sims" game to star in their animation above. Full press release after the jump.

GM and OnStar Create Technology to Help Save Lives: New capability to assist OnStar subscribers and public safety officials in stolen vehicle cases

WASHINGTON D.C. (October 9, 2007) - General Motors (GM) and OnStar demonstrated today a prototype technology that can help OnStar further assist in the safe recovery of subscribers' stolen vehicles and reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from police chases. This new technology, known as Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, is the latest enhancement to OnStar's stolen vehicle service and can allow OnStar advisors working with law enforcement to send a signal to a subscriber's stolen vehicle to reduce engine power slowing the vehicle down gradually.

"From its inception, the motivation behind OnStar has been the safety and security of our subscribers and others on the road," said Chet Huber, OnStar president. "Every service we add builds on this original promise. The Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service will allow our subscribers added peace of mind by possibly preventing their vehicle from being used as an instrument of harm if it happens to be stolen."

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, about 30,000 police chases occur yearly and approximately 300 deaths occur as a result of those chases.

"Technology should not just entertain us or make us more comfortable, it should make us safer," said Nicole R. Nason, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "We applaud innovations such as the kind GM is embracing that will make our roads better, our passengers more protected and our drivers safer."

"We look forward to having technologies like Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available to aid our officers in apprehending suspected car thieves and keeping our officers, highways and citizens safe," said David Hiller, national vice president, Fraternal Order of Police. "Since 1996, OnStar has assisted the law enforcement community by helping to locate stolen vehicles."

Powered by OnStar's newest generation of hardware (Generation 8), GM will make Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available on nearly 1.7 million Model Year (MY) 2009 vehicles. GM's largest division, Chevrolet, will be leading the way, making up for more than 60 percent of the total vehicles equipped with this new technology.

"Chevrolet aims to provide customers with more than they expect, and services like Stolen Vehicle Slowdown continue to add even more value to Chevy cars and trucks," said Ed Peper, general manager, Chevrolet. "Stolen Vehicle Slowdown will not only benefit GM and Chevy customers, but virtually everyone on the road."

Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is an enhancement to OnStar's Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, which the company has offered to its subscribers since 1996. Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance uses Global Positioning Satellite technology to pinpoint the location of a vehicle that has been reported stolen. OnStar provides the location to law enforcement to assist with the vehicle's recovery. OnStar receives approximately 700 Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance requests from subscribers a month. The company has helped in 28,000 requests over the past decade.

"The IAFC sees this technology as an opportunity to improve the likelihood of a positive outcome for all involved in such dangerous road situations," said Chief Steven P. Westermann, President, International Association of Fire Chiefs. "On behalf of all firefighters, we appreciate the research and commitment of General Motors to tackle these issues and come up with a safe solution."

The process for Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is:

· Once the vehicle has been reported stolen to law enforcement, the subscriber can call OnStar and request Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance. OnStar will confirm the subscriber has not opted out of the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service.

· OnStar will use real-time GPS technology to attempt to pinpoint the exact location of the stolen vehicle and provide this information to law enforcement to help them recover the vehicle.

· When law enforcement has established a clear line of sight of the stolen vehicle, law enforcement may request OnStar to slow it down remotely.

· Safeguards will be in place to ensure that the correct vehicle is slowed down.

· OnStar then sends a remote signal to the vehicle that interacts with the Powertrain system to reduce engine power which will slow the vehicle down gradually.

Research has shown that 95 percent of OnStar subscribers want the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service available on their cars and trucks. OnStar subscribers have the choice to opt-out of the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service at any time by contacting OnStar if they prefer not to have this capability on their vehicle. This will not affect the rest of their OnStar services.

OnStar's Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a GM-exclusive feature in the U.S. and Canada and will be included in the one year OnStar subscription that customers receive when purchasing an eligible MY 2009 OnStar-equipped vehicle. OnStar's suite of services also includes Advanced Automatic Crash Notification, Emergency Services, Remote Door Unlock, Roadside Assistance, Crisis Assist, OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Hands Free Calling and OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics. For more information regarding OnStar's services, please visit www.onstar.com.

About GM

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and communication services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

About OnStar by GM

OnStar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services. OnStar is available on more than 50 MY 2008 GM models and includes one year of service. One year of OnStar will become standard on nearly all GM retail vehicles in the United States and Canada by the end of 2007. OnStar provides services to more than 5 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. More information about OnStar can be found at www.onstar.com.

About Chevrolet

Chevrolet is one of America's most well-known and successful automotive brands. With the largest dealer network in the United States, Chevy is the leader in full-size trucks and the leader in sales of vehicles priced $35,000 and above. In addition, Chevrolet delivers more-than-expected value in every vehicle category, offering cars and trucks priced from $9,995 to $52,000. Chevy has more vehicles than any other manufacturer that provide more than 30 mpg. Offering dynamic yet timeless designs, Chevy owners demand great looks that don't go out of style, high performance per dollar, and features expected in more expensive vehicles. Chevrolet's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. For more information, go to www.chevy.com.

About the Fraternal Order of Police

The Fraternal Order of Police is the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 324,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges. They are the voice of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities. They are committed to improving the working conditions of law enforcement officers and the safety of those we serve through education, legislation, information, community involvement, and employee representation.

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs

Established in 1873, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) represents the leadership of over 1.2 million firefighters internationally. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in fire fighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search & rescue, and public safety legislation.

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