Currently the important pieces of data that On-Star does not collect are
such things as current speed, steering wheel position, lateral acceleration
and g-forces, accelerator pedal position and brake application. These are
important pieces of info that tell what you are/were doing at the time of a
However, the brain for the airbags does collect some of this information,
even though it is currently not linked to On-Star for transmission to GM.
Still, it is obtainable if you have the correct equipment and GM claims that
they use the data to help improve their safety systems. So far I've not
heard of any case where this information was subpoenaed into court to prove
or disprove fault in an accident, which is not to say that is couldn't or
hasn't already been done. Whenever GM announces that this information will
be transmitted to them via On-Star at the time of airbag deployment then
that is the time I would start to worry about Big Brother watching you
The funny thing is that in 20+ years in fire/rescue the only time I've ever
had to respond to a call generated by On-Star concerning a deployed airbag
is from several of the local dealerships that accidently set off the sensors
(and occasionally the airbags themselves!). We always joked that this was
the automotive version of the automatic fire alarm systems in buildings.
Cheers - Jonathan
I understand that it does collect GPS data. All you need then is time data
between points and *bingo* one has speed traveled between points.
"Black Box" data (as the air bag data collection device has been referred
to) has and will likely continue to been subpoenaed in court cases.
Even if it does collect GPS data and get timestamps for each data point,
that is not an accurate indicator of speed at the moment that the data is
sent unless the time interval between data points is very short. All it
tells the receiver is the average speed between the points and not the
instantaneous speed at the time the data is sent. And even then, that would
only be "straight line" speed and not take into account turns and curves and
degree of acceleration or deceleration between data points.
The method you describe would be best suited for tracking very large objects
such as ships, where the travel distances are fairly great, the course
changes are minimal, and the acceleration and deceleration is very gradual.
Cheers - Jonathan
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