At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Verizon unveiled its new connected-car technology, a gadget to rival General Motors’ OnStar system. The news comes in light of General Motors announcing it has parted ways with Verizon in favor of AT&T starting with the 2015 model year as its cell service provider. GM had been with Verizon since 1996.
We have a feeling this new technology may have something to do with the long partnership dissolving, but nonetheless, Verizon provides the specs as a tempting alternative to OnStar.
Verizon says the service will work on “nearly every vehicle made and sold” since 1996, and will begin service and sales sometime in Q2 of this year. Price has yet to be announced at this time.
What we do is the service offers very OnStar-esque features. Verizon Vehicle uses an OBD II dongle and a head unit with a Bluetooth speaker and call buttons which may be slipped on the vehicle’s visor. Among the tech’s features are the ability to report an accident to its Member Care Center or be used for live emergency vehicle aid. The system can also monitor the health of the car and provide advance warning to malfunctions, even diagnosing check engine lights to laymen terms. The system may also connect the driver to an ASC certified mechanic who can help analyze problems. Other features include the ability to track a stolen vehicle, keep track of where the vehicle has been parked, alert users to how much time is left on a parking meter and dispatch help the device’s GPS coordinates.
One thing the Verizon technology lacks, and gives an upper hand to OnStar, is the ability to deliver directions as OnStar does through navigation downloads.
Verizon expects the service to allow the over 200 million cars on the road with no connectivity to join the connected-car grid.