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Drivers of GM vehicles will be able to control car features via smartphone

Thu, 22 Jul 2010

Drivers of most 2011 General Motors Co. vehicles will be able to use a smartphone to carry out functions usually found on a key fob -- such as remote starting, activating the horn and lights, and remote locking and unlocking of doors.

Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC, working through OnStar, are developing brand-specific mobile applications than can be controlled on Apple's iPhone and phones using Google's Android operating system.

GM announced the technology today.

Using a mobile phone means vehicle features can be controlled regardless of the driver's distance from the car. For instance, a traveler who forgets to lock the car at the airport can send a locking signal from inside the terminal.

In addition to controlling vehicle functions, OnStar subscribers will be able to get diagnostic information on their phones, such as the fuel-tank level, remaining oil life, recommended tire pressure and average mile per gallon driven.

The announcement furthers OnStar's reach into the mobile applications market. In January, it announced a smartphone application for Chevrolet Volt owners that will let them manage charging and perform other functions remotely.

It has also announced agreements with Google that will allow drivers to select destinations using Google Maps and then send those destinations to OnStar's turn-by-turn navigation service.

By Leslie J. Allen- Automotive News