DETROIT -- General Motors' OnStar division will offer new technology on some 2006 models and nearly all 2007 models that gives subscribers automated turn-by-turn navigation in their vehicles.
GM will unveil the technology at the Chicago Auto Show this week, where it presented the first OnStar-equipped vehicle 10 years ago.
Many OnStar subscribers now can get turn-by-turn directions from an adviser. This technology is different: The subscriber gives a destination to an adviser, who then sends step-by-step directions directly into the car.
At that point, the adviser disconnects and the vehicle takes over. It will emit audio directions through the stereo. For example, an automated voice will say something like, "Turn right in 500 feet at Maple Avenue."
"We know customers like knowing that if they get lost they can get directions and routed somewhere," says Chet Huber, OnStar president. "We know the frustration of cost and usability of the screen GPS systems. This should be another opportunity to differentiate GM vehicles and OnStar in the competitive marketplace."
The technology will debut in the 2006 models of the Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS and STS sedans in March, Huber says. GM will start producing those vehicles this month. The technology will be available on nearly 1 million 2007 models across most GM brands and expand for the 2008 model year. GM will begin building its 2007 models this fall.
The technology is not costing OnStar more money because there is no additional hardware required for it, Huber says.
While GM is not saying how much subscribers will pay for this capability, Huber guesses that it will fall between the current $199 a year "safe and sound" service and the $399 a year "directions and connections" package.
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