CES 2015: Does GM OnStar's Trip Adviser Store Your Personal Data?

Jan 05, 2015 06:10 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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General Motors' in-vehicle system OnStar will launch a new feature at this year's Consumer Electronics Show that acts as a personal assistant on road trips.

AtYourService, which is coming to the United States and Canada, connects OnStar subscribers with hotels to book last-minute room reservations and also offers deals for nearby restaurants.

For the new service, OnStar has partnered with RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book, which will provide digital coupons; Parkopedia to offer parking data; and Audiobooks.com, so travelers can listen to e-books on the road.

Subscribers will also be connected to retail partners including restaurants like Dunkin' Donuts and Priceline.com, which finds hotels, flights, vacation packages and other travel services.

"We can't think of a more exciting and targeted way to connect with our guests than when they are in their vehicles looking for a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant," Scott Hudler, vice president of global consumer engagement for Dunkin' Donuts, said in a statement. "We'll bring value to GM drivers while driving those consumers to our stores with instant incentives."

Hotel booking will be available through the partnership with Priceline.com, which will let OnStar include information on room availability, cost and ratings. Subscribers with a full service plan can book reservations through OnStar and then get directions to the hotel.

OnStar is an embedded system available by subscription to offer vehicle diagnostics, a Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation and roadside assistance. The service receives more than 35 million requests for directions and supports more than 53 million mobile app interactions each year in the U.S. and Canada, according to GM. 

In a world where so much personal information is shareable and hackable, customers can't be too careful. AutoWorldNews talked by email with Deana Alicea, assistant communications manager with General Motors, to find out if and where subscriber data is stored.

Since AtYourService targets users to help them find certain restaurants, is it tracking their location?

AtYourService does not track the location of users. Each AtYourService offering is tied to a specific destination request from an OnStar user. For example, when an OnStar user pushes the blue OnStar button to contact an Adviser for directions to a specific merchant, such as Dunkin' Donuts, the OnStar Adviser can inform them of any current offers that may be available at Dunkin' Donuts. If the user wants to take advantage of the offer, the discount offer is then emailed by the OnStar Adviser to the email address provided by the user during that call. If the location requested is a hotel, the Adviser can offer to assist with booking the hotel by the subscriber through Priceline. After the room is selected and booked by the subscriber, the Adviser may also share any offers or deals for restaurants around the hotel.

Does location data and other information remain anonymous?

Location data is collected by OnStar, but is not shared with the merchants. OnStar customers can choose whether to use the discounts that are made available by these merchants.

Is user information stored in any way?

Yes, per our Privacy Statement and customer consent, customer information is stored by OnStar to enable delivery of these services.

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