Stopped in their tracks

General Motors and OnStar have demonstrated a prototype technology that can help assist in the safe recovery of stolen vehicles.


General Motors and OnStar, the company’s wholly-owned safety subsidiary, have demonstrated a prototype technology that can help assist in the safe recovery of stolen vehicles.


The new technology, known as “Stolen Vehicle Slowdown”, is the latest enhancement to OnStar’s stolen vehicle service and can allow OnStar advisors working with police to send a signal to a subscriber’s stolen vehicle to reduce engine power slowing the vehicle down.


GM plans to make the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown system available on nearly 1.7 million vehicles in 2009. GM’s largest division, Chevrolet, will be leading the way, making more than 60 percent of the total number of vehicles equipped with the new technology.


The Stolen Vehicle Slowdown system is an enhancement to OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance that uses Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to pinpoint the location of a vehicle that has been reported stolen.


In the case of the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown system, once a vehicle has been reported stolen to the police, OnStar will again use real-time GPS technology to pinpoint its exact location. But when the police spot the stolen vehicle, they can then request that OnStar slow it down remotely. To do so, OnStar sends a remote signal to the vehicle that interacts with the powertrain system to reduce engine power.


Research has shown that 95 percent of OnStar subscribers in the US want the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service available on their cars and trucks.