Detroit auto-maker General Motors will be making remote unlock and remote start a standard feature on its fleet of cars for the 2014 model year. Through a smartphone-controlled OnStar RemoteLink Mobile app, GM car buyers can now tap into the vehicle’s OnStar system to remotely unlock and start their cars without the need for a physical car key. For consumers, this means that the days of being stranded because you locked your keys in your car will be a thing of the past. Car buyers living in extremely hot or extremely cold climates can now start their GM cars up to run the air conditioning or heating respectively before setting foot inside the vehicle.
“Remotely unlocking doors, activating horn and lights and remote start for factory-equipped vehicles are among services General Motors will make standard via smartphone for five years,” the company wrote in its press release.
The app will be available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry phones. No mention was made for Microsoft’s Windows Phone support.
The nice thing about this initiative is that it will be headed to Buick, Cadillac Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles in GM’s lineup. Customers will have access to this service fore free for five years from the date of purchase regardless if they sign up for any other of GM’s OnStar services.
GM announced the new RemoteLink Key Fob Services program on Wednesday for OnStar-equipped 2014 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models – even if the owner declines to pay for other OnStar services. It is the broadest deployment of remote services offered through a mobile app by any auto manufacturer. Thirty-six 2014 model year GM vehicles are compatible with the RemoteLink mobile app.
This is GM’s latest move in trying to bridge the gap between the mobile space and the auto space. The car-maker had earlier this year a partnership with AT&T Mobility in bringing 4G LTE connectivity to its cars, and more recently GM had announced an open app platform that developers can tap into to deliver apps and services to GM’s infotainment systems.
And though older GM cars–and those not made by General Motors–may be left out, those owners can add these features via an after-market solution, like those offered via Delphi through Verizon Wireless or through Viper, though those systems require installation and come with its own separate monthly bills. GM rial Hyundai is exploring a similar feature through the use of NFC, which would not require the Internet connectivity that comes with OnStar.
According to GM, this service is an appealing part of the GM car buying experience with 72 percent of those polled saying remote unlock and start would positively influence their decision to be part of the GM family.
Beyond connectivity on a mobile device like a phone and tablet, carriers, manufacturers and consumers are finding ways to connect more things to the Internet and to stay connected to these things. Home monitoring, security systems, and now cars are becoming part of that connected experience.
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