Several exciting features will make their debut in 2013 General Motors models, including redesigned OnStar buttons.
“While the new buttons are cool, it’s what’s behind the button that is most impressive,” said Douglas McKibbon, engineering group manager, OnStar Hardware. “The buttons were changed for a few different reasons, but one was to better reflect the software updates that have gone into this current generation of OnStar.”
Voice Command Button
The button previously named the “Hands-Free Calling button” that was represented as a white phone with a circle around it, has been replaced with the “Voice Command button” featuring a general speech icon.
The button changed to more accurately represent all of the functions that if offers. In addition to allowing a driver to place or receive a phone call, the Voice Command button allows drivers to:
- Access a previously saved route
- Check Hands-Free Calling minutes
- Access personalized traffic, weather and stock updates
- Download directions to saved MapQuest destination
The Voice Command button better integrates with infotainment systems like Chevrolet MyLink, Cadillac CUE and Buick/GMC IntelliLink. These touch-screen infotainment systems offer access to OnStar’s voice command services by pressing the same logo featured on the Voice Command button. Pressing this logo on the infotainment screen or on the rearview mirror will access these service options on the screen or through voice commands.
The Emergency button retains its original function to get a priority connection to a specially trained Emergency Advisor, but the featured logo has changed from a white cross embedded in a red circle to the internationally recognized “SOS” symbol.
This change is reflective of OnStar’s upcoming expansion into new global markets. The white cross does not represent an emergency in every country. OnStar and GM researched proposals across many different countries to identify the appropriate universal symbol.
“Emergency service is a staple of OnStar and that’s why we moved to a globally recognizable symbol,” said Terry Inch, vice president of Sales, Marketing and New Business Development.
The blue OnStar button, which serves as the emblem for the 16-year-old telematics company, switched to the company’s new logo, which was introduced in late 2010 along with a pledge to focus on “responsible connectivity.” Some GM models and OnStar FMV already use the new logo. Push this button anytime you’d like to speak with an OnStar advisor.
Drivers of some 2013 Camaro models will have a frameless rearview mirror with touch-screen access to OnStar buttons, paying homage to both the classic Camaros and today’s tech-savvy driver. The buttons have electrochromic capabilities, allowing them to light up when touched and dim shortly afterwards. The mirror itself is also auto-dimming to compensate for the amount of light inside the vehicle.. It comes standard on the Camaro 2SS, 2LT, ZL1 coupe and convertible. GM will consider integrating the frameless mirror for other makes and models in the future.
Multiple research tests seeking the most attractive and most functional symbols that would be easily understood went into the logo redesign. Tests involved GM employees and owners of existing OnStar-equipped vehicles. Participants evaluated options on paper as well as in web-based and prototype clinics, where participants evaluated the logos on physical parts.