Offering the ability to track family members out driving, General Motors is rolling out testing of a program called OnStar Family Link. The initial test group takes 10,000 U.S. OnStar subscribers and gives them the ability to check their vehicle location on a Web-based map. The test is currently invitation-only, but GM claims that the service is accessible to all 6 million OnStar subscribers. In addition, the service is compatible with OnStar FMV, an after-market installation of a custom rear-view mirror that uses the OnStar service. This attachment sells for $299 and subscribing to OnStar service costs $199 a year.
Using OnStar Family Link, parents can keep any eye on the location of household cars. Location can be viewed on the official site, but there’s no support for mobile devices at this time. However, it’s likely that a mobile app will be created once the service fully rolls out to consumers or functionality will be wrapped into the current OnStar RemoteLink app. Family members also have the ability to create OnStar Family Link Vehicle Location Alerts, notifications set for a specific date and time. Users can choose if the alerts are sent by email or text message as well. OnStar is also looking into notifications when a driver arrives at a destination, if a predetermined speed limit is broken or when a navigation boundary is crossed. For instance, imagine receiving a text message when your teenage son decides to break 88 miles per hour on the highway.
There’s no pricing attached to OnStar Family Link and it’s likely to be bundled with the current subscription plan of $18.95 a month. The service is likely to by popular with families, especially when tracking drivers in difficult weather conditions. Another use could be watching the progress of a family member driving to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Testing of the OnStar Family Link trial will continue through late September 2011. At that point, General Motors will decide if a national launch of the service will become available to all OnStar customers.