In an attempt to prevent car owners from receiving an unwelcome surprise when they turn the key, Chevrolet has created the OnStar Proactive Alert system. The system senses if something isn't quite right under the hood and will prompt drivers to get their vehicle serviced before more expensive or ill-timed breakdowns occur.
Proactive Alert takes inspiration from the Boeing 787, which is able to send mid-flight messages to the ground crew if its detects a part that needs inspection. Every time the car is started, the system collects data about the health of key components including the starter motor, fuel pump and 12-volt battery, and compares it against data gathered from other cars in the Chevrolet OnStar fleet to predict potential maintenance issues before the fact.
If the data isn't quite in sync with the rest of the fleet, the system will warn the driver with a text, email or a message through the car's infotainment system. These warnings are specific, too, so you're unlikely to get a warning telling you to replace the battery when all the car needs is a short drive to replenish it.
"Accuracy is the key to our prediction algorithms," Steve Holland, chief technologist for Vehicle Health Management at GM says. "We will be able to inform dealer service departments so they can spend less time testing for a condition we have already diagnosed. They can replace the necessary part quicker and minimize the amount of time a customer's vehicle is at the dealership."
The Proactive Alert system is available as an opt-in service for OnStar subscribers driving 2016 Chevy Silverado, Tahoe, Suburban, Corvette and Equinox models, although the company says it's hoping to expand the number of supported components and models in the future.