There are 192 patents on the books for OnStar inventions and more are in the pipeline.
One of the patents is for the monthly email to users to report what’s happening with an OnStar-equipped vehicle (Currently, OnStar sends around 3.6 million e-mails every month).
In the past 15 years, OnStar has filed 767 patent applications and averages 60 to 70 application filings each year.
OnStar’s 100th patent is credited with saving General Motors about $350 million per year in warranty claims. The Captured Test Fleet program for employees uses OnStar during a new vehicle’s test drive period to collect and send information directly to the test engineers.
The speed at which this data is sent to engineers allows them to make necessary improvements to a vehicle before it goes on sale to paying customers.
Another OnStar patent allows deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired people to use OnStar through a TTY (teletypewriter) compatible in-vehicle module. The module allows the driver and passengers to interact with an OnStar advisor as well as TTY users outside of the car.
OnStar Senior Systems Engineer Chris Oesterling, who helped design the OnStar Vehicle Diagnostic service that compiles data from hundreds of diagnostic codes, holds 36 patents and has 48 pending.
“One great aspect of OnStar is they really promote and nurture intellectual property development,” said Oesterling. “It’s fun to create and invent, but it’s even better when you work somewhere like OnStar where people feel safe in their vehicle because of something you added to the service. It’s pretty cool when someone comes up and says, ‘You helped save my kid’s life.'”