NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors will distribute OnStar smartphone applications later this year that will allow Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac owners to do things like lock their car doors or start the engine from miles away.
The OnStar mobile application will also let users get information about their vehicles, such its fuel level, available driving range, oil level, tire pressure and other diagnostic information. It will be available on Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) iPhone as well as on some Android handsets.
"This technology empowers drivers to make decisions about their travels well before they enter the vehicle, meaning their full attention can stay where it needs to be - on the road ahead," Chris Preuss, president of GM's OnStar subsidiary, said in an announcement.
GM gave the example of someone at the airport who is plagued by doubts about whether he remembered to lock the car. Or someone attending a baseball game on a hot day who wants to start her car so that it will be cooled by the time she's ready to leave.
Currently, even in vehicles equipped with remote start, the owner must be at least within sight of the vehicle to start the car. (Vehicles equipped with OnStar can also be unlocked remotely, but the owner has to call an OnStar operator and request it.)
Other OnStar phone features, some specifically tailored to each car brand, will be announced in the next few months as marketing for the technology begins, GM said.
The phone application will also include a button that will automatically dial an OnStar operator for anything that can't be done by the mobile app, such as requesting emergency assistance.
As it currently exists, OnStar is available on nearly all Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac cars. The service allows drivers to connect with a live OnStar operator by simply pressing a blue button inside the car. It also automatically summons help in the event of a crash, and sends regular emails with vehicle diagnostic information.
OnStar currently offers its services free for one year on most GM models, and then at subscription price of about $20 to $30 a month, depending on the level of service.
United Airlines says its CEO, Oscar Munoz, isn't getting broader control of the company as previously planned. More
President Trump is keeping his word to 'do a big number' on the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law by signing orders that seek to review regulators' authority to unwind a bank on the brink of failure and to label nonbank firms as risky institutions. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
Investing a small portion of your retirement savings in gold would add diversification to your portfolio, but it's probably not necessary. More