may have been the first to offer drivers a panic button and a help button for on-the-road emergencies or questions, but in the years since OnStar’s launch the technology has become widespread.
Today, help buttons are offered in telematics systems from Hyundai (Blue Link
), BMW (BMW Assist), Mercedes-Benz (mbrace), Lexus (Enform) and Toyota (Entune), to name just a few manufacturers.
As Automotive News
(subscription required) tells us, you can add Chrysler to that list in 2013 as well, at least for two vehicles in its lineup. Access Assist, Chrysler’s name for its emergency and help buttons, will debut as part of the UConnect system on 2013 SRT Vipers
and 2013 RAM 1500
Access Assist works independent of a cell phone, and features buttons for “Assist” and “911”. As you’d imagine, “911” contacts local emergency services, while “Assist” routes you to a Chrysler call center, staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Call center employees are trained to answer vehicle-specific questions (like “How do I pair my new cell phone with this car?”), or they can be used to dispatch roadside assistance in the event of, say, a flat tire.
Unlike OnStar, Chrysler’s Access Assist won’t dispatch first responders in the event of a crash and airbag deployment. A trial subscription (lasting six to twelve months) will be included with vehicle purchase, but Chrysler has not yet released ongoing subscription pricing.
While Access Assist debuts on the RAM 1500 and SRT Viper, look for the automaker to begin rolling it out on other vehicles in the not-too-distant future.