If you're trusting your teenage son or daughter with the car for the night it's nice to know that their journey has gone safely - or that they're actually going where they said they would.
For that extra piece of mind GM is testing a new OnStar service called 'Family Link' that allows subscribers to pinpoint the location of their vehicle remotely. It will allow users to keep track of the OnStar-equipped family vehicle using an online map service, and send you emails or text messages as to its whereabouts. It can even alert you if they've gone outside a pre-agreed area or if the speed creeps too high.
For every parent whose teenager promised them an arrival text that never arrived itself or worried if their driving standards took a dive once out of view, this could be just what you've been waiting for.
The idea isn't completely new of course. Ford's MyKey technology
already helps parents restrict their teens' in-car behavior by setting speed limiters, and restricting stereo volume and channel selection. Other companies offer "nanny cams"
that let you monitor your teen's driving.
GM's take on the theme should offer good usability and peace of mind without having to constantly monitor your child. Fewer excuses for rebellion? You can always dream...
OnStar is running a pilot with 10,000 active U.S. users ending in September, and will gauge feedback before deciding whether to subsequently launch the service.