Detroit - GM's
subsidiary will expand the functionality of its planned Android smartphone app for Chevy Volt owners, adding a car-finding feature and other navigation-related applications.
When the electric-powered Volt launches in the fall, the smartphone app will let Chevy Volt owners control key vehicle functions from afar via cellular. Within 12 months of the Volt's launch, an upgrade to the app will let owners view their current location and the current location of their vehicle on Google Maps on the Android phone's display. Users will be able to use Google Maps navigation to get voice-guided walking directions to their vehicle from their current location.
Also from the handset, the Volt's owner could use Google Search by Voice to search for a destination and show the destination's location related to the Volt. Users can then send the destination from the Android phone to the Volt to have OnStar turn-by-turn directions to the destination waiting for them when they get into the car.
OnStar hasn't said if the navigation app would also be designed for iPhones and BlackBerrys.
Excluding the navigation feature, Volt smartphone applications for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones will be available when the electric vehicle launches in the fall. Remote access will also be possible from a cellphone's web browser.
With the smartphone apps, consumers will be able to remotely lock/unlock their Volt's doors, honk the horn and flash the lights without making a call to an OnStar call center. The call center will continue to offer key OnStar services, including automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, hands-free calling and stolen-vehicle assistance.
The apps, which
at January's CES, will also activate the heating or AC (from the power grid if the car is plugged into a power outlet), remotely charge the vehicle if plugged in, set a timer to remotely charge the vehicle during off-peak hours, and remotely view the status of vehicle systems. On their cellphone display, Volt owners would be able to see charge status, remaining vehicle range, cumulative and last-trip MPG, and odometer and trip odometer readings. The smartphone would also receive vehicle-diagnostic updates via email with a regular OnStar subscription.