The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

GM and OnStar Create Technology to Help Save Lives

May 23, 2008

WASHINGTON – General Motors (GM) and OnStar have demonstrated a prototype technology that can help OnStar further assist in the safe recovery of subscribers' stolen vehicles and reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from police chases. This new technology, known as Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, is the latest enhancement to OnStar's stolen vehicle service and can allow OnStar advisors working with law enforcement to send a signal to a subscriber's stolen vehicle to reduce engine power, gradually slowing the vehicle down.

"The Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service will allow our subscribers added peace of mind by possibly preventing their vehicle from being used as an instrument of harm if it happens to be stolen," said Chet Huber, OnStar president.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, about 30,000 police chases occur yearly and approximately 300 deaths occur as a result of those chases.

Powered by OnStar's newest generation of hardware (Generation 8), GM will make Stolen Vehicle Slowdown available on nearly 1.7 million Model-Year 2009 vehicles. GM's largest division, Chevrolet, will be leading the way, making up for more than 60 percent of the total vehicles equipped with this new technology.

Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is an enhancement to OnStar's Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, which the company has offered to its subscribers since 1996. Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance uses Global Positioning Satellite technology to pinpoint the location of a vehicle that has been reported stolen. OnStar provides the location to law enforcement to assist with the vehicle's recovery. OnStar receives approximately 700 Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance requests from subscribers a month. The company has helped in 28,000 requests over the past decade.

The process for Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is:

  • Once the vehicle has been reported stolen to law enforcement, the subscriber can call OnStar and request Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance. OnStar will confirm the subscriber has not opted out of the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service.
  • OnStar will use real-time GPS technology to attempt to pinpoint the exact location of the stolen vehicle and provide this information to law enforcement to help them recover the vehicle.
  • When law enforcement has established a clear line of sight of the stolen vehicle, law enforcement may request OnStar to slow it down remotely.
  •  Safeguards will be in place to ensure that the correct vehicle is slowed down.
  • OnStar then sends a remote signal to the vehicle that interacts with the Powertrain system to reduce engine power which will slow the vehicle down gradually.


Research has shown that 95 percent of OnStar subscribers want the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service available on their cars and trucks. OnStar subscribers have the choice to opt-out of the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service at any time by contacting OnStar if they prefer not to have this capability on their vehicle. This will not affect the rest of their OnStar services.

OnStar's Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a GM-exclusive feature in the United States and Canada and will be included in the one-year OnStar subscription that customers receive when purchasing an eligible MY 2009 OnStar-equipped vehicle. OnStar's suite of services also includes Advanced Automatic Crash Notification, Emergency Services, Remote Door Unlock, Roadside Assistance, Crisis Assist, OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Hands Free Calling, and OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics.

OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown 2009 Model Year Availability*



  • Silverado
  • Tahoe
  • Suburban
  • Avalanche
  • Impala



  • SRX
  • Escalade
  • Escalade EXT
  • Escalade ESV
  • DTS



  • Lucerne



  • Sierra
  • Denali
  • Denali XL
  • Yukon
  • Yukon XL



  • Vue



  • H2
  • H2 SUT


* As of April 2008. Vehicle models are subject to change.


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