General Motors Corp. on Wednesday announced a partnership with MapQuest.com that would allow OnStar customers to send their destinations from MapQuest's Web site to OnStar-equipped GM vehicles.
OnStar, a GM subsidiary that provides safety and communication devices for GM vehicles, currently offers a live advisor for navigation and directions.
The alliance with MapQuest would allow customers to enter their destination on MapQuest's Web site and then send it to their vehicles after signing on to their OnStar account. Once in their vehicle, the driver could then get turn-by-turn audio directions from their OnStar system.
"The option to have a live advisor will stand," OnStar President Chet Huber said at a demonstration of the service ahead of the announcement.
"But the partnership will allow our customers to use the Internet to plan their destination while having the freedom to start the journey from wherever they want."
Both OnStar and MapQuest declined to provide any details on the financial terms of the deal.
"One of our goals at MapQuest is to make it convenient and easy for our users to plan their journey on their desktop computers and send the information to their cars," said Jim Greiner, general manger of MapQuest.
OnStar and MapQuest, which is owned by AOL, will start a pilot program this summer, offering the new service to 3,000 customers for a few months.
"That will give us the opportunity to see if there are any issues and then fine-tune them for the production launch later this year or early next year," Huber said.
GM also said a new factory-installed GPS navigation system will be standard for the first year on several GM vehicles sold in 2007, including all Buick and nearly all Cadillac models.
The service will be available on more than 2 million GM vehicles in 2007 and an additional 3 million vehicles in 2008.
After the first year, customers can continue with the navigation services by renewing their package for $299 a year.