something about a new car that is very cool. I love looking at cars, so talking
with GM about their connected car vision was quite exciting. Technology editor,
Ron Bingham, and I had a great discussion with Steve Schwinke, director of
developer ecosystem and application development for GM’s Global Connected
Consumer business unit.
Schwinke was with OnStar for more than 15 years, where he lead the team of
engineers and developers that invented, designed and piloted many of the
industry’s first telematics services. Prior to joining OnStar, Steve worked at
Ford Motor Company and GTE Government Systems in Mountain View
California. During this time he designed a variety of wireless
communication subsystems and components. Schwinke received his Master’s
Degree in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in RF and Microwave
Communication Systems from Santa Clara University and a BSEE from the
University of Michigan Ann Arbor. He has been granted 11 patents in the
area of Telematics.
IoTP: How do you see the Internet of
Things (IoT) and GM cars?
SS: In addition to our main focus on
safety, security and peace of mind, if you look at our recent announcements at
CES, including AtYourService [see *Editor’s Note], as well as Driver Assurance [see **Editor’s Note] and Driver
all interrelated with the IoT. If you look at a vehicle today, there are
hundreds of sensors and BCUs (body control modules), all connected through a GM
bus or LAN (local area network) that performs the major functions of the
vehicle – acceleration, etc. If air bags are
deployed, it will shut down the engine, etc. If I look at OnStar & GM’s GCC (Global
Connected Consumer), I can take that connected ecosystem and expose that for
other uses. Life happens in your vehicle and we’ll be there.
IoTP: Tell us more about these January
2015 CES announcements.
SS: For example, I may be driving
across the state and think I can drive farther than I can. I can call OnStar
and get a hotel room, and, get that room at a discount. We offer these kinds of
value-added customer services through a number of partners, such as Priceline,
in our AtYourService program. With Driver Feedback, drivers can opt to share
their OnStar driving assessment with an insurer that’s participating in
the program. We use the 4G connection through that vehicle’s bus, and take that
information to our servers and process that information for a driver score.
Customers can chose to share that score with an insurer, such as Progressive,
for discounts, as it’s much better to get tangible value than just knowing how well you are driving.
I’m very excited about Driver Assurance, as this is another
way to show the customer that we’re really looking out for them in this case, by providing
predictive analytics of potential failure in time to take faster action. It’s a step further from
our current OnStar’s maintenance alerts and advisories showing customers
warranties they may not even know they had.
IoTP: What about a previous CES announcement about a GM 3rd party apps development program?
SS: Let's just say it's on hold until we can get it right. We do integrate iOS and Android apps.
IoTP: What do you envision for the
connected car of the future?
SS: What inspires me is that we’ve made a commitment
as a company to commit to 4G – we
did it on 30 “nameplate” vehicles this year
not easy to do that. The core telematics technology had to shift as well as
changing the automotive hardware for this high speed low-latency capability.
Our CES announcements are just the start of what we can do. We’ve gone from
providing information to now predicting. I see an IoT convergence of
information that is coming together. The car is the biggest appliance you’re going to own! In
the future there may be connectedness between the connected car and the connected
home, for example.
IoTP: What about voice recognition?
SS: While there may be more voice
recognition and on-board apps in the future if that’s what customers
want, today we believe there’s nothing better than a real live human. We have the
ultimate voice recognition–a live advisor 24/7!
IoTP: Is Big Data relevant to your
connected car vision?
SS: We have worked on Big Data
initiatives in my group. We often confuse Big Data and reporting. My goal is to
get the data scientists in my group to start getting information about what I’m not smart enough to
about starting to look at information differently, to connect the dots in new
ways. Can you connect this information with other information for new trends?
For example, GM had 22 million
smartphone interactions in 2012, 45 million in 2013 and half a million
interactions over customer smart phones in 2014! I like to joke that we can
tell the weather by seeing how many people are unlocking their cars remotely
from their smartphones!
your view on driverless cars?
SS: Crash imminent braking system, lane
departure, forward collision warnings, to me, those systems are all part of
safety, security and peace of mind. We’ll be announcing next year, super cruising, where you can
take your hands off the wheels on certain freeways. Connectivity provides
insight into these systems. We’re working with the University of Michigan Transportation
Research Institute (UMTRI) and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) with data,
very valuable data, about how people are reacting to these automated systems
and how we can improve them. Sometimes customers don’t fully understand
using these systems – how are they using lane departure warnings? Can’t talk about an
autonomous vehicle unless you talk about connectivity. Can’t measure unless you
have a feedback loop. It’s nice energy between OnStar and GM’s
Connected Consumer business unit
as we move forward more and more. We did announce at Convergence V-to-V
(vehicle to vehicle) communications for safety. We nave been talking about that
for a decade. Vehicles with the same systems can be warned about what might
take place, for example, coming to an intersection and a car runs a red light.
IoTP: Thank you for taking the
time to talk with us.
SS: It’s an exciting time! I enjoyed it.
- - - - - - - -
[*Editor’s Note re AtYourService: AtYourService is a commerce and
engagement offering that connects drivers with retailers and merchants on their
drive, tied to their specific destinations. In addition, OnStar advisors can
now help locate hotels and book reservations. AtYourService will roll out in
the U.S. and Canada, where OnStar annually receives more than 35 million
requests for directions and supports more than 53 million mobile app
interactions. Building on these direct connections and adding more daily
relevance for subscribers, OnStar has signed initial relationships with
partners like Dunkin’ Donuts
and Priceline.com. Digital coupon providers RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book
will supply retail and shopping coupons. Parkopedia will serve data for parking
nationwide, and Audiobooks.com will supply e-book content to drivers on the
road. The service provides a simple way to find on-the-go accommodations while
drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. In a pilot program,
nine out of 10 subscribers said they would book their last-minute hotel needs
through OnStar again.]
[**Editor’s Note re Driver Assurance: Chevrolet is using advanced
connected vehicle technology to give customers a new level of assurance in
their vehicles later this year. This prognostic technology can predict and
notify drivers when certain components need attention – in
many cases before vehicle performance is impacted. The predictive technology is
initially focused on the battery, starter motor and fuel pump, all critical to
starting and keeping a vehicle running. Additional vehicle parts and
components are expected to be added in future model years. The prognostic
service relies on OnStar 4G LTE to provide data streams from sensors within the
vehicle. When a customer has enrolled their
properly-equipped vehicle in this service, the data is sent to OnStar’s secure servers and proprietary algorithms are applied to
assess whether certain conditions could impact vehicle performance. When
indicated, notifications are sent to the customer via email, text message,
in-vehicle alerts or through the OnStar RemoteLink smartphone app. This service
is expected to be available on select 2016 Chevrolet Equinox, Tahoe, Suburban,
Corvette, Silverado and Silverado HD models equipped with certain powertrains,
followed by more Chevrolet vehicles throughout the 2016 model year.