GM’s OnStar is bringing its emergency service to the home with Amazon Alexa

Tech

Owners of Alexa devices will soon be able to use OnStar’s emergency services from their homes, under an expanded partnership between OnStar’s parent company General Motors and Amazon.

OnStar already expanded OnStar Guardian earlier this year with the introduction of the Guardian app, which lets customers access the service via their mobile device. This latest expansion will now bring customers’ voice-enabled home devices into that ecosystem.

While a customer could theoretically use the Guardian app inside their home today, GM’s head of Product Jeff Wajer told TechCrunch in a recent interview that there are many instances where people don’t have their phones on them but nevertheless may need to access emergency help. He noted that people with different accessibility levels, who may be unable to use a phone, could nevertheless shout for help using the OnStar-Alexa integration.

The integration will be rolled out gradually, first to an initial cohort of existing OnStar customers and then more broadly in 2022. Compatible Alexa devices include the Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show. GM declined to provide further details on how many customers will have initial access to the service, or how much it might cost, but Wajer did say there would be an initial free trial for OnStar customers in the first cohort.

OnStar Guardian is available to customers regardless of whether they drive a GM vehicle. However, this is not GM’s first collaboration with Amazon. The company has already introduced Amazon Alexa to the infotainment systems of select vehicles, and this newest partnership marks a strengthening of the ties between the two companies.

It’s also an indication that the automaker is seeking to strengthen its software and subscription businesses beyond the vehicle itself. The new offering “demonstrates GM’s commitment to its growth strategy and innovating its software enabled services,” the automaker’s VP of global innovation, Pam Fletcher, said in a statement.

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