Six months after being launched, General Motors’ OnStar has become the largest in-vehicle communications provider in China with more than 29,000 subscribers. (See OnStar Telematics to Launch in China) This is the first OnStar operation outside of the U.S. and Canada since OnStar was formed in 1995. OnStar claims it is now a global leader in telematics with more than 5.6 million customers and 230 million customer interactions to-date.
OnStar President Chris Preuss made the announcement in China yesterday as part of the second “Drive to 2030” Sustainable Urban Mobility Forum at the SAIC-GM Pavilion at Expo 2010.
Toyota, Lexus, Nissan and Audi also offer telematics products in what is now a small private market, but is thought to offer great future sales potential. It is also the subject of a growing automotive safety debate that even has the Secretary General of the United Nations calling for action on distracted driving, a growing global menace.
The “Mobility Internet” is GM’s vision for a future of connected cars. It refers to the technologies that allow vehicles to collect, process and share enormous amounts of data by linking them to each other and to an urban network, much as the Internet links computers today.
The Mobility Internet will, in GM’s theory, enable vehicle users to connect to their social networks, creating social interaction while on the road, another, yet another, enabler to the growing Distracted Driving pandemic.
“Telephones and computers have evolved from desktop fixtures tethered by landlines to pocket-size devices that can go anywhere, anytime, connecting us wirelessly to the world via the Internet,” said John Du, director of GM’s China Science Lab. “Now it’s the automobile’s turn.”