Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Will GM be driving your next new car?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,917

    Will GM be driving your next new car?

    Big Brother may be about to get just a bit bigger.

    General Motors just announced a new and improved version of its OnStar telematics system that could be used to shut your car's engine off (or at least, cut back the power) remotely.

    Touted as a "safety" feature (of course), the upgraded version of OnStar would give external authorities (law enforcement - and, of course, GM) the ability to send out a signal keyed to the car's on board computer, which in turn would ease off the gas - no matter how hard you're putting foot down. GPS-equipped cars already can be located in real time at any time, whether moving or stationary. The "enhanced" version of OnStar would, however, be the first use of satellite technology to physically control the vehicle/supersede the driver.

    The system goes live in 2009, when GM will begin offering it on more than 1.7 million new cars and trucks. Chevrolet will lead the way - with up to 60 percent of '09 models fitted with "enhanced" OnStar.

    So what's wrong with the idea? Is it cabin-in-the-woods paranoia to be concerned about what, after all, could be a valuable tool for law enforcement?

    The answer depends to a great extent on how much you trust the government.

    Certainly, the use of "enhanced" OnStar to stop high-speed car chases and retrieve stolen cars is hard to argue with. But will that be all the technology's used for?

    Consider this:

    The insurance industry is at this very moment lobbying Congress to impose electronic speed governors on heavy trucks - limiting them to no faster than 68 mph. Surprisingly, the trucking industry isn't completely opposed to the idea - provided electronic speed limiters are also fitted to ordinary passenger vehicles, too. Fair's fair, right?

    Now add a dash of "enhanced" OnStar to the brew.

    Come 2009, it will be technically feasible to make speeding impossible. A modern car is controlled by computers; the computers are now tied into GPS systems such as OnStar - which have the ability to send and receive electronic transmissions, including instructions that tell the computer how to run the car. "Smart" speed limit signs can now be fitted with transmitters; when a car with "enhanced" OnStar comes into range, the transmitter tells the car's computer what the maximum allowable speed shall be - and ye shall drive no faster.

    Welcome to the future.

    "Technology shouldnot just entertain us or make us more comfortable," croons NHTSA Administrator Nicole R. Nason. "It should make us safer." Of course. And what could be safer than making speeding an impossibility? If you haven't heard this argument voiced openly, just wait. It's coming as sure as Lindsay Lohan's next DWI. The safety nags have been patiently waiting for years for technology to catch up to their agenda.

    Courtesy of GM, that day has arrived.

    Our friends in the insurance and safety lobbies will soon be urging that this "optional" technology become a mandatory feature on every new car. Speeding is illegal - right? Who is going to argue in favor of allowing the automakers to continue building and selling cars capable of being driven 30, 40, 50 mph faster than the highest lawfully allowable maximum?

    What about the children, after all?

    And if that's not alarming enough, consider the likely follow-up. Once all new cars are fitted with in-car speed nannies, the glassy eye of government will very likely turn its gaze upon older cars - especially older pre-computer cars, which can't be electronically controlled because there is no on-board electronic controller. The old car hobby is already (justly) alarmed by recent changes in antique/classic car licensing and registration laws - which are making it harder and more expensive to keep an older car on the road.

    In Virginia, for example, changes to the laws governing antique vehicle registration now empower police to conduct what amount to "roadaside safety checks." If the cop decides your antique vehicle doesn't meet this or that jot or tittle of the law, he can seize your plates on the spot and have your antique vehicle towed to the impound lot - notwithstanding that most cops don't have any specific knowledge of what is/isn't "right" about decades-old vehicles.

    Now the authorities have a new tool in their kit. A cudgel by which they cannot only beat speeders into submission - but which could very well be used to take older cars off the road forever. Consider yourself warned.

    And remember to say "thanks, GM."

    END


  2. #2
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Little Rock, Arkansas
    Posts
    3,408

    Re: Will GM will be driving your next new car?

    Another reason to never buy GM.

    Like I needed another reason.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,783

    Re: Will GM will be driving your next new car?

    The problem is that other automakers may follow GM's lead and start implementing their own versions of onstar. This is truly Orwell's automotive 1984.


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,934

    Re: Will GM will be driving your next new car?

    All manufacturers are playing with new toys.

    The Tokyo Auto Show had mobile bubbles; ...electric motors on each wheel, reversible internals, with computer-interfaced 'helmets'.

    Today on the 20km straights of the Canterbury Plains in my GM LS1 sedan, an Austin Seven went past. I nodded and smiled. We are lucky here. Don't even have emission laws beyond 'excessive smoke'. We even allow Harleys, which is IMHO a blight on the landscape.

    The extreme end of automotive tech-possibility is fun, as is celebration of old stuff.
    GM will survive if it can negotiate out of pensions. It has brilliant engineers.

    yeah yeah brilliant engineers have to answer accountants... in the end we buy the things which appeal. Market. Right?

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,917

    Re: Will GM will be driving your next new car?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Another reason to never buy GM.

    Like I needed another reason.
    They've lost me, too. Even though I like some of GM's current models, I would not buy one for a variety of reasons. DRLs are one; EDRs another. GM's peddling of crap like "enhanced" OnStar is the final straw.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3,614

    Re: Will GM will be driving your next new car?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric


    They've lost me, too. Even though I like some of GM's current models, I would not buy one for a variety of reasons. DRLs are one; EDRs another. GM's peddling of crap like "enhanced" OnStar is the final straw.
    Well GM lost me 40 years ago due to garbage dealer service and equally garbage warranty policies. I was working 60+ hours a week and didn't have time to deal with them.

    As to On Star, is that not a subscription service which will be canceled if one does not pay ? Or, locate the antenna and either cut the wire or wrap in in foil.

  7. #7
    mrblanche
    Guest

    Re: Will GM be driving your next new car?

    We have just come from a meeting with Volvo Trucks on a variety of subjects germane to owner/operators. One thing they showed us was a print-out of the usage of our engines (if we have Volvo engines) over the life of the truck, with such statistics as time in high gear, etc.

    However, Werner Enterprises had a similar recorder on all their trucks over 15 years ago.

Similar Threads

  1. Driving 55 is suspicious
    By swamprat in forum Fight Traffic Tickets/Driving Issues
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-20-2011, 12:58 AM
  2. Bad Driving 101
    By Eric in forum Fight Traffic Tickets/Driving Issues
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-01-2010, 11:21 AM
  3. Driving while Talking vs. Drinking and Driving
    By Eric in forum Fight Traffic Tickets/Driving Issues
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 06-26-2010, 06:00 AM
  4. Raise the driving age to 18?
    By Eric in forum Fight Traffic Tickets/Driving Issues
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-12-2008, 12:57 PM
  5. GPS While driving
    By WBruce in forum Performance/Muscle Cars
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-06-2006, 08:34 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •