Shanghai OnStar, the Chinese joint venture between General Motors, SAIC, and Shanghai GM, has announced the launch of a new feature to help its more than 500,000 subscribers avoid traffic. Aptly named Avoid Traffic, the service is an improvement to Turn-by-Turn Navigation that utilizes real-time traffic information to route users around traffic congestion via OnStar’s familiar turn-by-turn voice commands.
Using Avoid Traffic is similar to having an on-board traffic assistant: users simply send OnStar a destination and the service determines the best route based on current traffic conditions. Of course, users can also call in to live OnStar advisors who can optimize a route for optimal traffic conditions. Unlike other (more traditional) navigation systems offered by competitors, the maps included in OnStar will be updated every three months for the most up-to-date road information. Avoid Traffic is currently only available Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shenzhen; it will become available in other cities across China in the coming months.
It seems that the Avoid Traffic service is unique to OnStar in China, since GM Authority is not aware of a similar service offered by GM’s telematics subsidiary in North America. We’ve reached out to the folks at OnStar to confirm this but did not receive a reply at time of publication; we will update this article as soon as we hear back.