DETROIT – With all the new features inside 2013 General Motors models, new OnStar buttons may not be the first thing drivers notice. However, the first OnStar redesign of what customers have seen in years will reflect more than just new logos.
“While the new buttons are cool, it’s what’s behind the button that is most impressive,” said Douglas McKibbon, engineering group manager, OnStar Hardware. “The buttons were changed for a few different reasons, but one was to better reflect the software updates that have gone into this current generation of OnStar.”
Voice Command Button
The button previously dubbed the “Hands-Free Calling button” – a white phone with a circle around it – is now the “Voice Command button,” featuring a general speech icon. The new button allows for more than just placing or receiving hands-free phone calls. It allows drivers to access a saved route; check Hands-Free Calling minutes or access OnStar Virtual Advisor, which includes saved MapQuest directions or traffic, weather and stock updates. And it will still allow a driver to place or receive a phone call.
“Many drivers are unaware of all that OnStar has to offer,” said McKibbon. “We feel this new look will better shows the breadth of our voice-based services.”
The Voice Command button also better integrates with infotainment systems like Chevrolet MyLink, Cadillac CUE and Buick/GMC IntelliLink. These touch-screen infotainment systems offer access to OnStar’s voice command services by pressing the same logo featured on the Voice Command button. Pressing this logo on the infotainment screen or pressing it on the rearview mirror will access these service options on the screen or through voice commands.
The Emergency button, previously represented by a white cross embedded in a red circle, is now the internationally recognized “SOS” symbol, reflective of OnStar’s upcoming expansion into new global markets. The white cross does not always represent an emergency, depending on the country.
“As we continue to expand, we want to make sure that our product and our service stay consistent throughout all markets,” said Terry Inch, vice president, Sales, Marketing and New Business Development. “Emergency service is a staple of OnStar and that’s why we moved to a globally recognizable symbol.”
OnStar and GM researched proposals across many different countries to identify the appropriate universal symbol.
The blue OnStar button, which serves as the emblem for the 16-year-old telematics company, switched to the company’s new logo which was introduced in late 2010. The new logo was introduced at the company’s Relaunch event in September 2010 along with a pledge to focus on “responsible connectivity.” Some GM models and OnStar FMV already use the new logo.
Camaro Frameless Mirror
Drivers of some 2013 Camaro models will have touch-screen access on the sports car’s frameless mirror that pays homage to both the classic Camaros and today’s tech-savvy driver. The OnStar buttons on the Camaro mirror have electrochromic capabilities, which allow the buttons to light up when touched and dim shortly afterwards. The mirror itself is also auto-dimming, allowing it to compensate for the amount of light inside the vehicle. It comes standard on the Camaro 2SS, 2LT, ZL1 coupe and convertible. GM is considering adding the frameless mirror for other makes and models later.
Multiple research tests seeking the most attractive and most functional symbols that would be easily understood went into the logo redesign involving GM employees and owners of existing OnStar-equipped vehicles. Research consisted of pen-and-paper studies, where participants evaluated options on paper; web-based clinics and prototype clinics, where participants evaluated the logos on physical parts.
The new OnStar buttons will be rolled out on most 2013 GM models with some based on vehicle program timing.
OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of connected safety and security solutions, value-added mobility services and advanced information technology. Available on more than 40 MY 2012 GM models globally, OnStar is now also available for installation on most other vehicles on the road through a new retail product called OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle). The OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App is a recipient of the 2011 Edison Award for Best New Product in the Remote Driving Aids segment. OnStar safely connects its more than six million customers, in the U.S., Canada and China, in ways never thought possible. More information about OnStar can be found at www.onstar.com.