OnStar will have real-time traffic information available to subscribers with onboard navigation screens beginning with mid-2005 model year vehicles.
The traffic data will be delivered using the bandwidth that XM Satellite Radio uses, OnStar President Chet Huber said on Wednesday. OnStar would not give further details on the offering.
OnStar already offers subscribers audio, Internet-based traffic reports through its Virtual Advisor service.
Huber said the GM subsidiary also is considering systems that would allow customers to download route guidance data instead of listening to directions during a call with an OnStar operator. This type of system would cut OnStar's costs by reducing the call length and also would help lower driver distraction, he said. He did not offer a cost savings.
The system could remind drivers when to turn and where through voice prompts, so drivers "don't have to remember anything," Huber said. "We're highly sensitive to driver distraction and vehicle integration." He did not specify plans to produce this system.
Huber said OnStar has more than 2.7 million customers and that its retention rate has grown for the last eight quarters. The customer retention rate is more than 60 percent.
Huber mentioned another potential way to take advantage of OnStar's partnership with XM would be to e-mail customers song title and artist information relating to the music they hear on an XM channel. There are no plans set yet to provide this service.
OnStar also on Wednesday said in Spring 2005 it will start offering customers the ability to interact with its voice recognition system in Spanish, in addition to French and English, which already are available. Call center adviser service already has been available in the three languages.