General Motors and its OnStar telematics subsidiary are teaming up with one of the biggest names in the online world, Google Inc., to link vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt to a variety of smartphone applications.
Among other services, owners of the Volt will be able to monitor the state of the plug-in hybrid’s battery charge, as well as find where they’ve parked the vehicle in a crowded lot. Motorists will also be able to access OnStar’s other safety and navigation services using a smartphone running on Google’s Android operating system.
The technology will make its formal public debut in San Francisco, later this week, at the Google I/O conference. GM earlier this year announced an app that will also allow Volt owners with an Apple iPhone to wirelessly connect with the vehicle.
The partnership with Google has the potential to significantly expand both OnStar offerings and the number of telematic services GM makes available in its products. Despite their initial lead, GM and OnStar have been playing catch-up, lately to Ford’s voice-activated Sync system. Ford announced plans, earlier this year, to link a variety of Apple iPhone apps to the next-generation Sync system – which will debut later this year on new models like the 2011 Ford Fiesta.