If you’ve ever wondered how GM’s OnStar telematics system functions, wonder no more! The extremely useful service ties together several technologies, including GPS and cellular communications, to deliver an intuitive experience and piece of mind (as well as the cutting-edge “cool” factor when it comes to OnStar Mobile Apps). So, how does OnStar work?
- It all begins with GPS satellites orbiting the earth at 12,000 miles, continually relaying navigational data.
- This data is then used by a GM vehicle’s (or by a vehicle equipped with Onstar FMV) GPS receiver to calculate location data from at least three GPS satellites.
- When a user pushes the OnStar button or a vehicle’s OnStar system senses a crash, critical vehicle data is sent via a wireless connection to OnStar. The cellular carrier providing voice and data communication to the vehicle is Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and Bell Mobility in Canada — both operating on the CDMA mobile network. The fact that the cellular hardware is built into the vehicle allows for better signal throughput (reception) thanks to a more powerful antenna (and cellular/radio attenuation).
- This cellular transmission relays the call to the OnStar Data Center.
- Once the OnStar Data Center receives the call, it routes it to the appropriate OnStar Call Center and Advisor Group.
- The OnStar Call Centers — located in 1) Warren, Michigan, 2) Charlotte, North Carolina, 3) Oshawa, Ontario — then answer a phone call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A call comes in every two seconds.
- Once a trained OnStar Advisor answers the call, their desktop application displays the street level mapping information with the calling vehicle pinpointed as well as Subscriber account information. To better assist Subscribers, OnStar Advisors are set up in special teams (such as Emergency or Routing).
- If a call necessitates emergency assistance, the Emergency Advisor contacts Public Safety Answering Point (911) with jurisdiction. The Advisor then relays applicable information, such as location, crash data, and injury status, to prepare emergency responders for an appropriate rescue strategy.
Keep in mind that most of these actions occur within 15 to 30 seconds of engaging the OnStar System (as you can see at the bottom of the infographic below).
Good stuff, OnStar… good stuff indeed.
Here’s our question to you: would you like to see a similar article explaining how OnStar MyLink apps work? Let us know in the comments below!