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OnStar Reaches “No. 1” Milestone in China
Only six months after being launched, General Motors’ OnStar has become the largest in-vehicle communications provider in China with more than 29,000 subscribers. OnStar President Chris Preuss made the announcement Wednesday as part of the second “Drive to 2030” Sustainable Urban Mobility Forum at the SAIC-GM Pavilion at Expo 2010. General Motors hosted the “Mobility Internet - Connecting the Virtual Superhighway Forum” at the SAIC-GM Pavilion at Expo 2010.

With the promise of connecting automobiles to each other and to the transportation infrastructure, the Mobility Internet built on technologies like GM’s OnStar in-vehicle safety, security and communication service could revolutionize urban mobility and the global automotive industry. 

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 enable vehicle users to connect to their social networks, creating social interaction while on the road.

Building on the success of The Pathway to Sustainable Mobility Forum in May, the Mobility Internet forum attracted leading experts from the global business and academic community. 

“The Mobility Internet will fundamentally change the way people move in the cities of the future,” said Kevin Wale, GM China President and Managing Director. “By redefining the automobile DNA through connectivity technologies, it will help eliminate the growing problems of congestion, traffic accidents and finding parking.  At the same time, it will enable autonomous driving so that drivers can fully enjoy the wireless social network as they travel.

At World Expo 2010 Shanghai, GM is showcasing its vision of urban mobility in 2030, a vision in which driving is free from emissions and petroleum, free from congestion and accidents, and more fun and fashionable than ever before. Mobility Internet technologies will play an important role in making this vision a reality.

“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.”

Like laptop computers and cell phones, the connected car will offer a variety of convenience features while being able to sense what is around them, and communicate with other vehicles and the road system,  Du said.  This will optimize traffic while shortening travel times and make travel more predictable.  Many of the technologies that will enable connected vehicles like GM’s EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle) concept exist today.  The next step toward entering the Mobility Internet era is moving from concept to commercialization.”

OnStar Leads the Way

As one of the building blocks of connectivity technology, OnStar is a significant milestone in the development of the Mobility Internet.  It represents the best real-world application of Mobility Internet technologies.

Through the Global Positioning System (GPS) and wireless communication technologies, OnStar provides 14 services, including Automatic Crash Response, Emergency Services, Security Protection, Navigation System, Vehicle Diagnostics and Hands-Free Calling.

“More than 29,000 users have subscribed to OnStar service in China since its launch in December 2009,” OnStar’s Preuss said at the forum.  “OnStar has surpassed all of its competitors and become the leading in-vehicle communication service provider in China, the world’s largest vehicle market.  We expect OnStar to have nearly 200,000 users in China by the end of this year.” 

He added: “General Motors has been working aggressively to ensure that while driving, users can also safely interact and obtain the information they need.  OnStar will lead this connected car revolution, improving the driving and travel experience on an ongoing basis, with the goal of realizing the Expo 2010 vision of a ‘Better City, Better Life.’”

Supporting Future Urban Development

Experts from different fields have high expectations for the Mobility Internet and related technologies.  Yang Xiaoguang, Director of the Department of Transportation Engineering and the ITS Research Center at Shanghai’s Tongji University, said: “The rapid progress made in the development of technologies such as digitization, networking, information and intelligence gathering has promoted the growth of urban transit systems and society.  The basic components for the next generation of transportation systems and intelligent public transit are already on the horizon.”

Discussing the next-generation transportation system, Guo Xingang, Principal Engineer and Senior Director of Embedded Platform and Applications Research at Intel Labs, said: “The Mobility Internet is gaining momentum.  It will lead us to a safer, greener, more efficient, and more comfortable future.  Vehicles will connect to the huge Internet world, sharing in its rich resources and services.  In-vehicle sensors will feed information back to the Internet in a timely manner.  This will make the Mobility Internet an indispensible part of the ‘society on wheels’ in the 21st century and people’s digital lifestyles.”

The "Drive to 2030" Sustainable Urban Mobility Forum series is designed to address urban mobility issues and provide comprehensive analysis and discussions of the prospect and feasibility of sustainable mobility from multiple perspectives, including the business role, policy incentives, urban planning, new energy, and technology innovation. Topics include: The Pathway to Sustainable Mobility; Mobility Internet - Connecting the Virtual Superhighway; Electrification - Plugging into the Future; Design - Sketching the Road to Tomorrow; Technology Solutions - Roadmap to Reinvention; and Urban Mobility - Drive to the Future.

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