OnStar is a subsidiary of General Motors (GM) that provides subscription-based communications, in-vehicle security, emergency services, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, and remote diagnostics systems throughout the United States, Canada, China, Mexico, Europe, Brazil, and Argentina.
The history of OnStar tracking can be traced back to 1996 when GM introduced OnStar as a vehicle communications service to leverage the then-growing cellular technology. It started as a safety and security feature in vehicles that included services such as automatic crash response, stolen vehicle tracking, remote door unlock, and roadside assistance.
As technology evolved, so did OnStar’s services. Today, OnStar offers a comprehensive suite of services that include not only safety and security features but also vehicle diagnostics, navigation, and connectivity services. Here is a more detailed look at the evolution of OnStar tracking services:
- Automatic Crash Response: Initially, one of the primary functions of OnStar was to provide automatic crash response. If the vehicle was involved in a collision, the OnStar system would automatically notify the OnStar call center, and an advisor would be immediately connected to the vehicle to check on the occupants and notify emergency services if necessary.
- Stolen Vehicle Tracking: OnStar also introduced stolen vehicle tracking services. If a vehicle equipped with OnStar was stolen, the owner could report the theft to the police and then contact OnStar, which could locate the vehicle using GPS technology and assist the police in recovering it.
- Turn-by-Turn Navigation: Over time, OnStar introduced turn-by-turn navigation services. OnStar subscribers could contact an OnStar advisor, who would then send directions to the vehicle’s navigation system. This feature has since evolved into a more advanced navigation service with real-time traffic updates and destination download capabilities.
- Vehicle Diagnostics: OnStar also introduced remote vehicle diagnostics services. Subscribers would receive a monthly email with information on the vehicle’s key operating systems, such as the engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes, and airbags.
- Family Link: In 2012, OnStar introduced the Family Link service, which allowed subscribers to locate their vehicle online at any time. Subscribers could also set up email or text message notifications to inform them of the vehicle’s location at specific times.
- Smartphone App: OnStar also developed a smartphone app that allowed subscribers to remotely start their vehicle, lock and unlock the doors, and manage their OnStar account.
- Fleet Tracking: OnStar extended its services to fleet vehicles, providing fleet managers with a comprehensive suite of services that include vehicle location tracking, route planning, vehicle diagnostics, and driver behavior monitoring.
Does OnStar keep location history?
Yes, OnStar does keep a location history of your vehicle. This is particularly important for features such as stolen vehicle assistance. When you report your vehicle stolen and request OnStar’s assistance, they use the GPS data from your vehicle to determine its location, which can be shared with law enforcement to help recover your vehicle.
Additionally, if you use OnStar’s navigation services or the Family Link service, OnStar will also have a record of the locations you have been.
OnStar’s tracking services have evolved significantly since its inception in 1996. From initially providing safety and security services such as automatic crash response and stolen vehicle tracking, OnStar has grown to offer a comprehensive suite of services that include advanced navigation, vehicle diagnostics, and fleet management services.