Sometimes, General Motors doesn’t get quite the credit it deserves for innovation — such as when the company quietly pioneered building emergency services into every car it made.
GM pioneered the idea of instantly connecting drivers to emergency services or concierges with OnStar two decades ago, and made it standard on every car in 2006 (the system was originally exclusive to Cadillac). That means that, where you have a cell signal or Wi-Fi, you have access to GM’s call center at the press of a button, if you pay for the service.
Indeed, you have access even if you don’t pay, during some times of crisis. GM is making the system free to all owners for the next 30 days, in the states being hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. The company has helpers to provide evacuation guidance and other navigation help, and may be able to line people up with food, shelter, and medicine. The company can also provide Wi-Fi hot-spots in the car, and provide some free calls from the car through its system. As in the past, the Red Cross will even use OnStar centers as overflow for its own emergency calls.
David Zatz has been writing about cars and trucks since the early 1990s, including books on the Dodge Viper, classic Jeeps, and Chrysler minivans. He also writes on organizational development and business at toolpack.com and covers Mac statistics software at macstats.org. David has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today.