OnStar opens telematics API to fuel mobile app creation

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General Motors' OnStar unit will open its proprietary Advanced Telematics Operating Management System application programming interface to selected iOS and Android developers during the first half of 2012, enabling developers to build mobile applications that interact with in-vehicle navigation, security and safety services. 

The cloud-based ATOMS platform enables all OnStar services--according to GM, apps created using its API will deliver services and functionality in the same manner. Internal research into the OnStar customer base indicates that subscribers place the most importance on emergency and security services, followed by navigation, vehicle information and diagnostics--while OnStar will continue to build and expand services targeting these core features, execs are hoping that opening the API will translate to a more customized experience for many consumers. "We want to give people 1,001 reasons to keep their OnStar subscription active," said OnStar chief information officer Eric Litt in a prepared statement.

Developers interested in obtaining the API should contact OnStar at developers@onstar.com. OnStar has already shared the API with peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace RelayRides, enabling GM vehicle owners to leverage OnStar to rent out idle cars, complete with control over pricing and availability.

OnStar touts more than 6 million subscribers across the U.S., Canada and China. In addition to millions of existing GM vehicles equipped with the service, OnStar is currently available in more than 45 2012 models.

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