Technology that Makes a Difference

Posted on April 23, 2015

Father, son and daughter standing in front of their GMC vehicle

OnStar employees are dedicated to developing technology that has a purpose — to keep Members safely connected everywhere they go.

Steve Schwinke, director of developer ecosystem and application development for GM’s Global Connected Consumer Experience, helped develop OnStar’s simple three-button system and, in last 18 years, has helped create and launch the company’s core safety and security services — everything from Stolen Vehicle Assistance1 to Vehicle Diagnostics.2

Over the years, Schwinke talked to numerous Members who have told him of the positive impact OnStar has made on their families’ lives. Schwinke echoes their sentiments.

When Schwinke’s son Ryan came home for the weekend, his mom asked him to drive his sister Carly to the store. He was happy to do it, and he and Carly piled into his Chevrolet Cobalt.

“I didn’t want to buy a new car for my son to drive, but I did because I believe GM makes very safe vehicles and because of OnStar,” says Schwinke. “I would never consider having any of my children drive a vehicle without OnStar.”

It was a rainy day and traffic was slow. Ryan was only going about 25 mph when the driver in front of him suddenly slammed on her brakes. Ryan tried to stop, but there was no time. The air bags in his Cobalt went off as the front end of his vehicle wedged under the car in front of him.

But there was no time to panic. A specially trained OnStar Advisor was immediately connected into the car. She asked if Ryan and Carly were injured and let them know help was already on the way.

Built-in sensors helps Advisors predict how serious a crash is and the severity of any injuries. Key information is immediately relayed to emergency responders, better preparing them for when they arrive on scene.

“When I got the call about the accident my first reaction was ‘Are my kids safe?’,” says Schwinke. “Because that’s all that matters — metal can be replaced.”

Ryan and Carly were fine. Emergency responders arrived in minutes. Ryan says even though he knows all about OnStar — he was 3 when his dad began working there — seeing how Automatic Crash Response3 worked firsthand was an eye-opener.

“The OnStar Advisor took care of everything,” he says. “She offered to call my parents and stayed on the line until the police arrived. Thankfully we were OK, but if one of us had been injured, having OnStar right there would have made all the difference in the world.”

“Over the past 16 years we have been upping our game in terms of product offerings, but our core commitment to safety and security is in our DNA,” Schwinke says. “In the blink of an eye bad things can happen, and that is why I work at OnStar — because we are making a difference in people’s lives every day, and that’s pretty cool.”