Feeds

Gentlemen, start your engines – with your phone!

GM puts cars under mobile-phone control

Business security measures using SSL

OnStar will soon let users unlock their cars, activate the horn, check the fuel and oil levels and even start the engine, all from the comfort of their smartphone handset.

The OnStar service is run by General Motors and puts an embedded mobile phone into every car. The device was initially intended to automatically report accidents. But once you've got a phone in the car, you might as well add additional features, and The Next Web noticed that those now extend to providing feature control and diagnostic information straight to iPhone and Android applications.

The new features aren't all available to owners of even this year's models, to the annoyance of some iPhone users. OnStar provides details of the supported models and a demonstration video showing the very latest incarnation allowing the car's owner to unlock the doors and start the engine from anywhere in the world, and check on the fuel level too.

OnStar screen shot

Checking tyre pressures from the other side of the world might seem like a solution looking for a problem, but anyone who's wandered around a car park searching in vain will understand the value of being able to remotely trigger the lights and horn.

Back in May, Motor Trend reported that General Motors was talking to Google about Android-enabling its cars, to enable just this kind of functionality. At the time we suggested that OnStar was too important a brand to lose, but also expressed concern about what Google could learn if let loose inside a car. That's not, yet, happened, with Android being just one of the supported platforms for the new OnStar client software, but it's only a matter of time before we see a vehicular app store of some sort. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.