OnStar Family Link Pilot Program Helps Parents Track Teens

August 2, 2011

Parents have it tough, trying to keep track of their teens driving the family car. With a new system from OnStar called Family Link, however, the job could get a whole lot easier.

Of course, for now, the program is just in the pilot stages. But there’s obviously a great deal of interest in OnStar pursuing the technology to assist buyers of General Motors family vehicles to keep tabs on their teenage drivers.

OnStar announced the pilot Monday, and is sending invitations to about 10,000 current OnStar subscribers to take part in the service. The pilot is geared toward GM owners who are parents with teen drivers.

Here’s how Family Link works. Parents can log on to a password-protected GM website and will be able to monitor the location of their teens (or others) driving the family car. They will also be able to receive email and text alerts on the vehicle’s location.

Worried that your teen isn’t where he or she should be? Concerned about staying connected with your teen? OnStar’s Family Link may soon solve that problem – effortlessly.

Other features for Family Link include “Speed Alert, Boundary Alert and Arrival/Departure Alert.” For example, parents could set an alert for when their teen driver exceeds 75 mph, and receive a text message. If the teen leaves a certain area, parents can receive another alert. Ditto parents getting an automatic notification on arrival and departure times concerning their teen’s travel in the car.

Note that the OnStar Family Link system operates as passive technology. Nothing in the current pilot works to prevent teen drivers from exceeding speed limits or automatically turn down radio volume, unlike the Ford MyKey system which actively does so.

But OnStar will evaluate feedback from Family Link pilot participants. Come the end of September, at the conclusion of the test, OnStar will make a determination whether to roll out Family Link to the public. Who knows? Maybe parental feedback will be to include more active measures in the system. The capability is certainly there. The marketplace will decide.

[Automotive News (sub. required) via TheCarConnection]

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