GM had a version of OnStar in 1966!

By modern standards, it was certainly crude, and–ultimately–it was probably not practical, but GM’s innovative technology from 1966 did do many of the things that its modern OnStar system does.

It’s right about the satellites. OnStar doesn’t just need communications, it needs GPS too.

Yep, computers, satellites, and GPS, are the innovations that drive a lot of possibilities. We would have had engines probably a thousand years earlier had they had the machine tools then too. That’s why I guess research is important. You just never know when the one thing will be stumbled on that then allows many other innovations.

Perhaps the best illustration of how far back many of our “modern” technologies would have gone had other “enabling” technologies like materials, manufacturing technologies, and computers been available is Leonardo DaVinci’s papers. He was centuries ahead of his time. Even the design for the heart valve was found in his papers, and Dr. DeBakke showed a comparison of the modern heartvalve to the one DaVinci designed when he was trying to figur eout the fluid dynamics invoved…the designs were exact. BeBakke sqaid that had the materials been available the valve DaVinci designed would have work perfectly and exectly the same as our modern heart valves.

I learned this from a NOVA special on TV, and it was stated that only recently have his papers begun to be revied by engineers rather than artists. These were, after all, truely engineering drawings. DaVinci was the first known to use many design drawing approaches, including orthographic projections. There’s no evidence that they’ve ever been used before.

The “system” GM proposed in 1966 was just talk…No working units (outside the lab) were ever made. It depended on CB radio and magnets buried in every major intersection…

OnStar is just an automated cell-phone wrapped in a different package…GM tries to pretend it’s some sort of proprietary magic…

It’s more than yours say @Caddyman. My daughter’s car was stolen. We had it back in less than an hour because OnStar located it and told the police where it was. If the air bags deploy, OnStar notifies the communications center. They will contact the police and tell them exactly where you are. They will talk to and keep you company, or report that you did not respond when they talk to the police. You can call the control center any time you need to.

They can even unlock your car, start it, and roll down the windows for you. I watched it happen with my car. Kinda cool! They can also interrogate your car’s computer to look for fault codes, and email you the results.

It’s still just a cell-phone that’s been integrated into the cars operating systems. It has a built-in GPS to track your position (if they want to). Back in 2008, when the cell-phone companies dropped all their analog service and switched to digital, OnStar subscribers that owned cars older than 2008 models discovered the system no longer worked without a major and expensive upgrade using digital cell-phone technology. They were not happy…

I’ve got OnStar and I have to agree that I like it. It may just be an integrated cell phone but they have access to the ECM. If you get a CEL, you call them and they tell you what it is. If you want to know more, they’ll put a technician on the line to explain it the same as the factory manual would. I get a monthly condition report and so on. Being able to find the car if its stolen, shut the car off, or unlock it, is just nice protection. Whats the internet anyway except just a glorified cell phone connection?

We have a 2003 Olds and it cost us $10 to upgrade to digital OnStar. The offer was a form letter, so I’m sure that millions of other owners received the same one.

Back when GM was an innovator. They also made vehicles with airbags back in 73. Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

That was GM was a car company…and not a finance company. It was cars from that era that I fell in love with their products.

GM took a cell-phone and turned integrated it into the car. Not very technically difficult…but it is innovative. Companies have been doing that for years…but not in cars. Remote factories where you can’t easily run lines to have had systems like that as long as cell-phones have been around. It is pretty cool system…but I’d never pay for it.

The idea had to start somewhere ,
and it’s often interesting to hear the back-stories to a number of technologies that we use and accept as normal.
They all had growing pains,
trial and error,
developmental stages etc.

Even those that died trying, simply because an infrastucture didn’t exist to make them feasable.
Relating many stories of ‘‘if everybody had one’’ or ‘‘if there was only a whachamajigger at every intersecton’’ or in every house…if only.
just think, or read about the growing stages it took for gasoline and the i.c.e. to be the accepted method of locomotion.
Yes electric transportation is a great idea…IF ( and when ) there are solar powered charging stations eveywhere, on every corner, in every parking lot, built with every home and business. ( in fact every building ever built from now forward shouild have solar panels no matter its facing direction. )
When it’s the only way they build them , eveybody has one or will get one.

‘’ build it and the will come ‘’

Science future ; ( re: every building should have solar panels )
in 2040 we’ll be blogging…’'remember back when they made houses and buildings with…SHINGLES ?? on the roof. how silly they were to waste all that enegy.

Back when Gm Was innovative, now we still have pushrod V-8s in pickups and the same 'ol. Everyone laughed at toyota back in 97 with the first prius, now everyone has a me-too hybrid. Heck, Gm finally made their own prius, except its twice as much and not as good as the plug in prius. Remember not long after the volt came out they were catching fire.

Actually, the Volt is better than the plugin Prius. They cost about the same and the Volt goes more than twice as far on a charge.

Back in high school, we would drive my friend’s car onto the frozen lake and then call OnStar about where the car was. The frightened people on the other end didn’t realize that Wisconsin’s lakes would be frozen over and they would respond with, “Um, ma’am, your car is currently in a lake.” It was awesome.