DETROIT -- General Motors' OnStar division will offer new technology that gives subscribers automated turn-by-turn navigation in their vehicles on some 2006 models and nearly all 2007 models.
GM unveiled the technology at the Chicago Auto Show last week, where it presented the first OnStar-equipped vehicle 10 years ago.
At present, many OnStar subscribers can get directions from an adviser at an OnStar call center.
But the new technology is different. The subscriber gives a destination to an adviser, who then sends step-by-step directions directly into the car.
Once the adviser hangs up, an automated voice transmitted through the vehicle's stereo system takes over. For example, the voice will tell the driver, "Turn right in 500 feet at Maple Avenue."
Said OnStar President Chet Huber before the unveiling: "We know customers like knowing that if they get lost they can get directions and routed somewhere.
"We know the frustration of cost and usability of the screen GPS (global positioning satellite) systems. This should be another opportunity to differentiate GM vehicles and OnStar in the competitive marketplace."
The technology will debut in the 2006 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 further expand for the 2008 model year.
The new technology is not costing OnStar more money because there is no additional hardware required, Huber says.
While GM did not announce 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.
You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at [email protected]