OnStar debuts Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service

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OnStar debuted a new service today for its subscribers that allows the company to remotely slow down your vehicle if it’s been stolen and the cops are in pursuit. Dubbed Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, the new technology works with the already available Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance to help police locate and then gradually slow down your vehicle in a chase. OnStar is able to remotely send a signal to your car’s engine management system and reduce engine power gradually, so a perp on the run will suddenly find the throttle less and less responsive. It won’t prevent the criminal from crashing your new CTS into a pole, but it will end a hot pursuit much quicker than the cops could do alone and therefore reduce the risk of a high-speed accident that could injure innocent bystanders.

Stolen Vehicle Slowdown sounds pretty trick and certainly useful, but it is an additional service that will likely be available in an optional package, though OnStar didn’t mention any pricing details.

Also, and perhaps we’re just being paranoid, but it’s a little unsettling to know that a service center rep in a cubicle somewhere has the ability to disable your engine at a moment’s notice. We wonder if there’s a slippery slope here that should be considered. For instance, can the service be used against the owner of the car who is paying for it? We can imagine a situation in which a divorced parent abducts his or her own child and takes off in a 2009 Malibu equipped with OnStar. The cops give pursuit and realize the car is equipped with OnStar. Could law enforcement then contact OnStar without the subscriber’s permission if he or she is breaking the law and giving pursuit. It’s something to think about before you subscribe and a question OnStar should answer before the case arises.

Stolen Vehicle Slowdown will start debuting on 2009 models, mostly Chevys, before it’s rolled out across General Motors’ entire vehicle lineup. It won’t work on vehicle’s using OnStar’s analog network, only those that are on the digital network. Check out the press release after the jump to learn more about how it works.

[Source: OnStar]

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