OnStar Adds MapQuest, One-Touch Addressing, Traffic and Ex-Avoidance

For all the goofy hype that surrounds it, OnStar is occasionally helpful to those who have it. The OnStar/GM Nav system should be getting better now that the Onstar-Mapquest service is ready to go. The three main features include the ability to feed an address to an OnStar advisor while driving, the ability to create maps on MapQuest.com and send them to your navigation system, and XM NavTraffic. We just made up the part about ex-avoidance. No amount of technology will keep you from bumping in to the only ex you abandoned in the woods at the worst possible moments. We have to give special props to the OnStar media people for using Gilley's of Urban Cowboy fame for the press photos. Is there going to be a mechanical bull point of interest feature? Press release below the jump.

GM and OnStar Lead the Way with New Navigation Services

Dallas - OnStar today announced the introduction of two new navigational services to complement and enhance its existing Turn-by-Turn service, the most widely available navigation system on the market. These features solidify GM's leadership in navigation with more vehicles on the road with embedded navigation systems and more options than any other automaker.

The first new service is OnStar Destination Download, which enables OnStar subscribers with screen-based navigation systems to quickly input their destination while on the go via the simple press of a button. The second service, OnStar eNav, allows subscribers with a Turn-by-Turn Navigation-capable vehicle to find and save destinations on MapQuest.com and have those destinations sent to their vehicle's OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation system.

"Through OnStar and onboard navigation systems, GM is transforming the category with the broadest range of options to suit customer preferences," said OnStar President Chet Huber. "With 3.1 million model year 2008 vehicles equipped with some form of factory-installed navigation, GM is delivering on our commitment to redefine the availability and functionality of navigation systems in the United States and Canada."

To initiate OnStar Destination Download, users simply press the OnStar blue button to connect with an advisor. Once subscribers provide the advisor with their destination, the destination is downloaded to their navigation screen within seconds. Press the "Go" button on the navigation system to begin the route.

Typically to use a screen-based navigation system, drivers have to bring their vehicle to a stop and place it in park. With OnStar Destination Download, subscribers can have the address of their destination sent directly to their navigation system while still driving, providing a safe, easy and immediate solution.

In addition, OnStar brings more than 10 million point-of-interest records, refreshed every month, to the navigation system. This supplements and greatly enhances the point-of-interest data loaded on navigation DVDs.

OnStar Destination Download will be available on over 80 percent of GM's screen-based navigation vehicle volume or 325,000 Model Year 2009 vehicles. In total, 22 different GM vehicle models will offer this new service.

OnStar's second new service offering, OnStar eNav, allows subscribers to plan their travel destinations on the MapQuest site (www.mapquest.com) and then send those destinations to their OnStar system. When ready to retrieve those directions, subscribers simply press their vehicle's OnStar phone button to access voice-guided commands through which they can select their route. Turn-by-Turn navigation will then launch to guide them on their way.

"At MapQuest we strive to provide our users with easy-to-use features that will save them time and ensure that they find their destination," said Christian Dwyer, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MapQuest. "OnStar eNav is a great addition to our suite of 'Send To' capabilities offering users the convenience of researching and planning online and sending results to a user's preferred device or system."

OnStar eNav will be available retroactively on 2.7 million current Turn-by-Turn capable GM vehicles. Later this year eNav will also combine with OnStar Destination Download to download destinations directly to the vehicle's screen-based navigation system.

OnStar and MapQuest conducted a pilot of eNav beginning in June 2007 with approximately 3,000 customers. A survey of pilot participants showed that 95 percent of them would use eNav at least monthly and 93 percent of the participants agreed that eNav should be offered by OnStar.

"From the pilot we learned that many of our subscribers like to pre-plan their trips, especially when visiting new areas," said Huber. "They appreciated the simplicity of eNav and used it to plan thousands of routes."

Also available to subscribers with screen-based navigation systems is XM NavTraffic, XM's real-time traffic information service is now available in 80 major North American markets. This service feeds comprehensive road condition data such as accidents, traffic backups and road construction to the subscriber's navigation screen. The availability of XM NavTraffic will greatly expand in model year 2009 to the same 22 GM vehicles equipped with screen-based navigation that also feature OnStar Destination Download. XM NavTraffic made its GM debut on the 2005 Cadillac CTS.

Where available, XM NavTraffic subscribers can view a color-coded overlay on their navigation screen indicating the average speed of travel along their planned route.

"GM and OnStar are demonstrating their commitment to providing their drivers with the best in technology, with this impressive expansion of XM NavTraffic across 22 vehicles in the 2009 model year," said Steve Cook, executive vice president, automotive, XM Satellite Radio. "XM NavTraffic provides the most comprehensive information and coast-to-coast updates every minute, ensuring that GM drivers will always have the latest and most detailed information at his or her fingertips. "

"Our varied connected navigation options mean something for everyone whether you drive a Cadillac CTS or a Chevrolet Cobalt," Huber said. "As the leader in navigation our continual goal is to provide GM drivers with useful and convenient services that make the driving experience simpler, safer and more secure."

[Source: GM]