Hyundai Blue Link telematics to take on OnStar

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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OnStar has become a household name that some might argue is General Motors' fifth major brand behind Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC. And while it will likely become the go-to name for in-car telematics for time immemorial, just like Jeep is merely another term for a 4x4, iPod for mp3 players and Kleenex for tissue, the rest of the auto industry isn't about to let GM have all the fun.

Hyundai, for one, is anteing up with a telematics system of its own dubbed Blue Link, which, like OnStar, will connect its customers to a live agent so they can sing the "blues" about locking themselves out of their car or, more critically, send accident notifications and a live link to a trained emergency professional. This latter features is part of Hyundai Assurance, which can also send an SOS if you're experiencing car trouble, an advanced roadside assistance program.

"Blue Link combines safety, service and infotainment into a complete package that simplifies drivers' lives," said Barry Ratzlaff, director of customer satisfaction and service business development, Hyundai Motor America. "We've studied how drivers rely on smart phones and navigation systems as a link to the outside world. Blue Link brings that connectivity to the car with technology like voice texting and POI (points-of-interest) download, turn-by-turn navigation, and vehicle health reporting. In typical Hyundai fashion, we've developed package options that are both thoughtful and cost-effective."

Initially Blue Link will offer Hyundai customers a total of 30 features, including one to slow down the vehicle to aid the police in a car chase, plus "geofencing" will alert an owner who has loaned their car to someone (most useful for a teenage son) that it has been driven off of a prescribed route or beyond a predetermined area, via text message. Speaking of texting, Blue Link will also allow a driver respond to a text message with custom commands via voice-to-text capability. Blue Link even helps a driver be more fuel-efficient behind the wheel with a featured dubbed "eco-coach," while a restaurant guide also includes ratings.

Blue Link will be available this spring in the U.S. on the Sonata sedan, with other models adding the option regularly up until 2013 when the entire Hyundai lineup will offer it. Canadian dates are forthcoming.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hyundai, Technology / Gadgets, Telematics, blue Link, OnStar,

Organizations: Hyundai

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