OnStar is celebrating its 25th anniversary, looking back on a quarter century of added safety, security, and peace of mind.
General Motors first introduced OnStar in 1996, formed as a collaboration between General Motors Electronic Data Systems, and Hughes Electronics Corporation. OnStar was officially launched at the Chicago Auto Show. The first vehicles to offer OnStar services were the 1997 Cadillac DeVille, Cadillac Seville, and Cadillac Eldorado. However, between 2002 and 2006, the service was also available on various Volkswagen, Acura, Audi, Subaru, and Isuzu vehicles via a licensing agreement.
In 2006, a rule change from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) altered regulations and no longer required that U.S. cell phone systems operate in analog mode, thus prompting GM to update OnStar services for roughly 500,000 customers, some of whom received an equipment upgrade, while others were offered to purchase an adapter with a one-year subscription. Older models had their service cancelled outright.
In 2011, OnStar teamed with Verizon Wireless to offer customers a variety of streaming content and video chat services, while in 2014, LTE Wi-Fi service was made available on certain General Motors vehicles.
In June of 2021, General Motors made the OnStar Guardian app available to all drivers in the U.S. and Canada, providing a variety of functions and features, such as mobile crash response, roadside assistance, emergency services, and location status.
In addition to offering services in the U.S. and Canada, OnStar has also been offered in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and China.
Earlier this year, General Motors announced that it was partnering with cloud-based emergency response platform RapidDeploy to send real-time crash notifications to 911 call centers in California, enabling emergency call centers to access crash data, which can then be relayed to first responders. The data includes injury severity prediction, the location of the accident, and other vital details.
Back in July, General Motors announced OnStar Vehicle Insights, which can be installed on non-GM vehicles to provide fleet managers with a variety of metrics and data, including vehicle health (fuel efficiency, oil life, etc.), Driver Behavior, and Daily Trip Summaries.