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Cloud Transportation

OnStar Gives Volt Owners What They Want: Their Data, In the Cloud 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the mines-better dept.
Volt owners will be able to brag about their mileage more easily now thanks to OnStar. "GM rushed work on a new API to get a popular Volt owner site back on road. You probably don't think of your car as a developer platform, but Mike Rosack did. A few days after buying his Chevy Volt, Rosack started slowly mining his driving data. But he eventually revved up his efforts and created a community platform for drivers to track their own efficiency. Today more than 1,800 Volt owners compare stats with each other, jockeying for position on Rosack's Volt Stats leader board."
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OnStar Gives Volt Owners What They Want: Their Data, In the Cloud

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  • developer platform (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <<gro.hsikcah> <ta> <todhsals-muiriled>> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:53PM (#42090339)

    You probably don't think of your car as a developer platform

    Sadly, you might soon have to, in the sense that you'll need to [pdf] [mcafee.com] keep your security patches up to date...

  • how do we monetize this?
    • Re:But, (Score:5, Informative)

      by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:10PM (#42090431)

      You get a discount for sharing it with your insurance company.

      • Re:But, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:42PM (#42090599)

        You mean a surcharge for not sharing it with your insurance company.

      • Re:But, (Score:4, Insightful)

        by markdavis (642305) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:05PM (#42090715)

        EXACTLY.

        I am quite pleased and proud that none of my vehicles share information with ANYONE in the "Cloud." Just because something CAN be done [that is "kewl"], doesn't necessarily make it a great idea.

      • That's today. Tomorrow there will be an additional charge for NOT sharing. Next year there will be a law that makes it illegal not to share.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by maxwell demon (590494)

          That's today. Tomorrow there will be an additional charge for NOT sharing. Next year there will be a law that makes it illegal not to share.

          The difference between a discount for sharing and an additional charge for not sharing is purely semantics. Both just mean that you'll pay more if you don't share. The only difference is which price you declare as base one. If you declare the lower price as standard, the higher means an additional charge, while if you declare the higher price as standard, the lower one

  • And there is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:14PM (#42090449)

    Yet another reason i'll never buy an onstar equipped car. Hands too much control to people you already paid once...

    They can pull the plug on this at any time. or start charging for the data. or anything else scummy you can think of.. and you can do nothing about it.

    I like computers. i really do. but i really dont want them in my car... or connected to the 'cloud'. it's stupid. If you're going that far where you need updates and connectivity for your car and official updates the dealer must install. (prius)

    You're better off just renting a car. You're going to be paying forever to drive. They might as well be responsible for way more crap than what they are now.

    • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:26PM (#42090529)

      hope they don't bill for data roaming when you drive out side of the USA.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You just gave some marketing asshole an orgasam.

        "Out of the usa? no! you're out of your 'local area' and now get charged a higher rate! yes!
        Oh our data shows you spend alot of time in other state X.... Well we can charge you extra for that too! Extended roaming periods! Yes!"

        Even more good reasons not to tie your transportation to forever giving a company more money. On top of the already insanely expensive car that 'loses value' the second you drive it off the lot.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      I like computers. i really do. but i really dont want them in my car..

      I do, just under my sole control. That includes encrypting stored data so that I control access to it.

    • "You're better off just renting a car"

      I think this pretty much hits the nail on the head. Why own a car that sits unused for 90%-99% of the time? When all cars drive themselves (as seems not only possible but entirely practical in the early 21st century), I can foresee the ability to book a car online, have it pick you up and then deposit you at you destination for a fraction of today's cab fare. The economics appear to make so much sense. Also, with self-driving, possibly networked cars, you'd go a long wa

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:26PM (#42090527) Homepage Journal

    Nissan has a stats site for Leaf owners that compiles stats, ranks efficiencies, etc., for those who opt in. It's fairly interesting, and it does provide some motivation for driving more efficiently, which isn't a bad thing. The top drivers must only drive downhill, though. They get 22+ miles per kWh, which is insanely good.

    The Nissan site is provided and operated by Nissan, though, rather than a fan.

    There are a lot of cool things that can be done with a highly-computerized car that has its own 3G Internet connection and GPS. They're barely scratching the surface. It really makes me want to hack my car, but I don't want to void the warranty.

    • by aurashift (2037038) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:21PM (#42090773)

      but I don't want to void the warranty.

      Hand in your nerd card.

      • by swillden (191260)

        but I don't want to void the warranty.

        Hand in your nerd card.

        Heh. $36,000 car. Leased. I'm definitely not that nerdy.

    • The top drivers must only drive downhill, though. They get 22+ miles per kWh, which is insanely good.

      Pfft, I can beat that, I have my Nissan Leaf hooked up to a horse, I'm approaching infinite miles per kWh!
      • Well, you'd be using the regenerative braking to be charging up the batteries as you go. So ... more than infinite?

    • There are a lot of cool things that can be done with a highly-computerized car that has its own 3G Internet connection and GPS.

      Put transmitters along the road at a few hundreds of meters each broadcasting the speed limit. Vehicles auomatically comply.

      If someone modifies the car to ignore the signal, he'll be really easily spottable as the car runs faster than the others.
      Confiscate the car and withdraw driver's license.

      If additionally there's an accident involvement, charge with voluntary murder attempt, as cars don't modify themselves.

      Sure there may be some signal overlapping problems to be overcome. I'm thinking about an h

      • by swillden (191260)
        Interesting ideas, though I was actually talking about things that are for the convenience of the owner/driver.
        • by eightball (88525)

          There is some convenience in not being caught unawares by quick speed limit changes.
          The important question is when a few transmitters at the beginning of a reduction are "out of service", will that indemnify you against the speed trap?

    • by tgd (2822)

      They get 22+ miles per kWh, which is insanely good.

      Impossibly good, its probably a math or recording error. To do that they'd need to maintain 22mph with only a touch more than 1hp of equivalent power usage, for an hour. The Leaf weighs 3400lbs, you couldn't get it up to speed or maintain its speed with so little power. And you'd have to be doing even better than that, if that is the average. I don't know what the current draw is of all the electronics in the car, either, but that is consumed power, too. I'd bet, best case, its still 1/4 of that being used

      • by swillden (191260)

        As I said, I think they must be mostly driving downhill (somehow), or something similar. I average about 5 miles per kWh, though it's taken me a month of practice to work up to that. That's with top speeds of around 65 and average speeds of around 35. When I first got the car I was getting 3.8... and I thought I already knew how to drive efficiently.

        At low speeds (22 mph is a good number), I've found that I can get around 10 miles per kWh, on average. The car is quite efficient, if the driver does a g

    • by operagost (62405)
      Hypermilers: driving at half the speed limit on the highway, then subsequently twice the speed limit at off ramps since 1985.
  • Egh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's amazing how "cloud" is now anything you transfer through the Internet.

    • by txsable (169665)

      Yeah...I remember when "The Internet" was a big enough buzzword on its own...

      • by Richy_T (111409)

        It's a shame they rejected my suggestion. "Your data in someone else's hands" is so much catchier.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:03PM (#42090709)

    But I'd like to make sure there is an opt-out (or better yet an opt-in) for this "service". I don't want my stats and/or whereabouts transmitted to anyone without my explicit knowledge/agreement.

    Can anyone who may have one of these things confirm that this private data is something I don't have to be transmitting to some random company? I noticed the word "privacy" was mentioned 2x in the article, but both times it seemed to be to satisfy OnStar's requirements.

    What's the scoop on this? It's been a while since I've bought a new car. Is this like, standard now?

    • This is a 3rd party service and they cannot access your data without you authenticating to GM. So don't go to the site, don't log in and they don't get any data.

      • This is a 3rd party service and they cannot access your data without you authenticating to GM. So don't go to the site, don't log in and they don't get any data.

        You are missing the forest for the trees. GM still gets all of your data and who knows what they will do with it. It's all well and good that GM has some sort of authentication requirement to access the data off their servers, but there is one basic rule - information wants to be free. If you give it to someone else, sooner or later it will escape. The only way to guarantee that does not happen is to never give the information to anyone in the first place.

        What we need to know is how well does the car wo

        • So you can't pull the SIM card. It uses CDMA, not GSM.

          You can pull the fuse if you want.

          AC asked about this service. I answered about this service.

          I don't think GM is calling my car to get data from it and frankly I would be all that concerned if they did. License plate scanners are going to be so cheap and available within a year or two that you won't be able to go anywhere in a car without a dozen companies knowing where you went and unlike GM, you can't retaliate against them by changing car brands if th

          • I don't think GM is calling my car to get data from it

            If it can phone home, it is. It is naive to assume otherwise for the simple fact that GM would not have put that ability in there if that wasn't their intention.

            As for ANPR, a few things:
            1) Regulation of what police departments can do with ANPR data is already in process in some jurisidictions and the more ubiquituous the collection the sooner more legislation will be passed.
            2) A thousand privately-owned ANPR systems aren't that bad as long as the data isn't collected into a database that can cross-referen

            • If it can phone home, it is.

              Phone home? I'm definitely not worried about it phoning home. Why would GM phone my data home? They aren't interested in the data. What would they do with it? They're going to make every car call home for data they don't even have a use for?

              I said I don't think GM is calling IN to my car to get data. They might call in to get data once they know they want it. I don't think they are doing so. If I were, I could just pull the fuse.

              Why do you bring up the cops with ANPR data? It's not the cops I am worried abo

              • Why would GM phone my data home? They aren't interested in the data. What would they do with it?

                You are surprisingly naive. They will be collecting it looking for any way they can to monetize it. Have you not been paying attention for the last 10 years? Monetizing personal information is the biggest business model of the decade, anyone who can conceivably do it, is doing it.

                I said I don't think GM is calling IN to my car to get data.

                That's a distinction without a difference. Especially since the original article was all about providing an API and authentication mechanism to access the information that GM is already collecting. Did you even read the articl

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You may find this [theregister.co.uk] of interest. I have no idea if their plans changed or if this is something separate.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Think site mentioned could do a lot more to protect its user's privacy as well. The detailed info page [voltstats.net] for the top ranked car gives you enough info (white diamond colour car in Arlington, VA, fully loaded spec) to figure out who the owner is with a bit of detective work. How many white Volts are there likely to be in that town?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Words cannot express how sick I am of idiots in a Prius
    ( or a Volt, or any other car which is embraced by idiots who
    are delusional enough to imagine their car will save the planet )
    going slowly in the fast lane on the Interstate ( which
    by the way is ILLEGAL thanks to the law which requires
    slower traffic to keep right ).

    These thoughtless twits make driving more dangerous
    for everyone when they impede the flow of traffic by refusing
    to pull into the slower lanes.

    If you are a Prius driver and you worship your fu

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:37PM (#42090853)

      That is the second worst poem I have ever read.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So, if they aren't driving a Prius, Volt, or any other car which is embraced by idiots who
      are delusional enough to imagine their car will save the planet, then driving slow in the left lane is OK?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know where you are, but if you drive your car in the carpool lane around here, and you're not driving at rush hour speeds during rush hour, you're going to get run over by at least one Prius - mine.

    • by DCFusor (1763438)
      I'm a Volt owner, have onstar (you can pull the plug on that if you like, but lose things like the nice phone if you do), and hardly ever "hypermile". I didn't opt in to Voltstats, because yes, some people appear to drive downhill only to game the numbers. But not all of us: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk6106_9IrE [youtube.com] should say enough, but I have a lot more of these that are more exciting (but longer). I drive on almost traffic-free twisty roads, where I have my choice - haul a&&, or hypermile wit
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        People trade in beemer 3 series, camaros, etc

        3 series and camaros are built like shit and people who buy them know fuck-all about cars, or want the particular style.

        • by vakuona (788200)

          And what do you know about cars?

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            And what do you know about cars?

            I've worked on them for twenty years, and I keep up. I've owned and maintained over 20 vehicles. I buy the factory service manuals so I can compare those too (Ford worst, Nissan best.) Etc.

            Now, what do you know about... anything?

      • People trade in beemer 3 series, camaros, etc for these little rockets,
        Rocket? I think not, 8.3-9 seconds for 0 to 60? 2008 328i does that 2.3 to 3 seconds quicker. Now, I am glad people enjoy their cars, but one doesn't move to a chevy volt for the raw 0 to 60 acceleration.
    • by sudon't (580652)
      Yeah, and as a truck driver, please allow me to mention that the middle lane is not another "slow lane" - it's the passing lane for trucks, (who are restricted from the left lane), and other slower traffic. Jeez, if you want to go slow, you are perfectly free to do so, just stay to the right. But let's face it, these people know what they're doing. Few drivers are actually that clueless, and it's probably one of the few areas in their lives where they can exercise a little power and stand their ground, even
  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:46PM (#42090891)
    TFA says they use CDMA 1x, aren't those networks being shutdown around the world, since they're getting quite old. New Zealand and Australia have already shut theirs down, replaced by WCDMA.

    How long till USA follows suite? This [bgr.com] website says it's starting in 2015.

    Is this going to make every single OnStar system useless without a hardware upgrade?
    • I assume Verizon punts you to this network if you use too much data on their LTE plans...

    • by cawpin (875453)
      The communication module in new Onstar systems is a plug-in unit. It can be changed easily. The first generation of systems will require a more involved upgrade.
    • by jeffy210 (214759)

      Already has once. I had a '01 Intrigue with OnStar that required an upgrade because it still used the old AMPS system. Plus side was it had a 3-watt transmitter (unlike the normal 0.6-watt on a cell phone) and the analog network covered damn near 99% of the US even in the middle of nowhere you'd have perfect signal. Downside was I think they wanted something like $400 to do the upgrade and I was getting rid of my car anyway.

    • But these cars use Verizon, not MetroPCS. Verizon is not going to shut down CDMA 1x for a while as right now it is their only way of making calls (you cannot make calls on 3G or 4G LTE on Verizon right now).

      OnStar hardware became obsolete before, my understanding is the new system uses a plug-in radio so the cars can be upgraded. Yes, it will require upgrades. Presumably if you are a continuing customer they will give you the upgrade for free.

      OnStar already has versions on deck that use 3G and 4G (not sure

  • GM finally gets it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by voss (52565) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:30AM (#42091051)

    enviromental friendliness...who cares
    saving the earth...yeah whatever
    nerd bragging rights and a leaderboard with a technocar----yeah baby. ;-)

  • You get a discount for sharing it
  • But he eventually revved up his efforts

    I see what you did there. Ho, ho.

  • by foxalopex (522681) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:48AM (#42093695)

    In some ways the Volt is GM's flagship car so they've been very careful to make sure it works for them instead of ending up with a disaster. I suspect their support of an enthusiast interface is to encourage that goodwill continues. They have an amazingly long warranty service and free 3 years on OnStar which for the regular consumer is something very desirable. It's helped them improve their product as well as their 2013 model battery improvements were partially based on the fact that the battery pack was degrading less than they had thought. Mind you I don't see this as a privacy disaster either. VoltStats site notes they don't have free access to air pressure and a few other stats that they use to use. I'm going to be a Volt owner soon and to be honest, I'm not worried about GM collecting data on my car. It looks like it'll lead to improvements for everyone down the road. If you're wondering why you'd want one, well it's a really nice electric car and while yes I could get a Leaf, it's my only car and without a gas engine you're going to freeze in some of the -20C sub zero temperatures in Canada. It's only downside is yes, it costs a lot of money to get one. But as a nice luxury sedan which is what I see it as, it's nice.

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