General Motors' OnStar in-car information service can already automatically slow down a stolen vehicle, as well as monitor traffic situations in real time. Now, GM has upgraded the functionality of OnStar to electronically transmit a vehicle’s precise longitude and latitude co-ordinates directly to 911 centers during emergency calls.

The new automatic system means that emergency service response times will be quicker, and thanks to the electronic system the location will be precise. Prior to an electronic system, OnStar would need someone to relay location information to emergency centers.

Using a built-in GPS system, the new service identifies street names, cross streets and precise x-y coordinates of an emergency call so that help is immediately dispatched to the exact location. This method of using in-car telematics to improve emergency services has already been used by GM in other areas.

For example, OnStar's automatic crash response system uses built-in vehicle sensors to contact OnStar after a crash. The sensors provide real-time data about the type and severity of the crash to OnStar, and the system can relay data such as the number, direction and severity of impacts as well as air bag deployment status to emergency responders so they can be better prepared to help when they arrive at the scene.

OnStar is currently available on over 50 GM models in North America.