Today I drove a stolen HUMMER – at least that’s what I was told to imagine when I hopped in the driver’s seat of a new Chevy Tahoe that was being used to demonstrate OnStar’s new Stolen Vehicle Slowdown Service. I buckled up and was instructed to drive it like I stole it – so I did.
Sitting shotgun was a man on his cell phone connected to OnStar Command Center in Detroit, much like a police chief would do during a high-speed-chase involving a stolen vehicle. He then asked me if there were any indications on the dash board or elsewhere that something was happening. I found nothing – which thankfully for my sake and pride was correct. What he had done was activate the four-way flashers on the vehicle in a way that was in no way noticeable to the driver. No blinking or ticking whatsoever. This helps OnStar and the local authorities on the ground make sure they are both talking about the same vehicle without tipping of the driver of the stolen vehicle.
After I found out I had been in a confirmed ‘stolen’ vehicle – I floored it. Only a few seconds into my joyride my passenger gave the cue to activate vehicle slowdown to the command center. I don’t think he had finished his sentence when all of a sudden the accelerator had no response. The vehicle still had power, and I was able to steer and brake, but it was as though the wire was cut between the engine and the gas pedal. After about 100 feet the vehicle came to a complete stop, and I was forcefully removed from the cab at gunpoint. Not really – but that would have made the demonstration much more realistic and exciting, IMHO.
OnStar will start putting the technology in most 2009 models – but since their destination download will only be available in the HUMMER H2, we’re going to assume Stolen Vehicle Slowdown will be H2 only as well.
So we’re waiting for two videos to hit YouTube. One is the first televised chase that ends with OnStar assisting, and the other is the pileup of 2009 vehicles outside of some MIT dorm after some kid cracks the slowdown code.