2012 CES: OnStar to Introduce Car Sharing App for Owners to Make Money

By Jacob Brown | January 09, 2012
The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show opened on Sunday night with a General Motors' OnStar unit introducing its latest evolution: allowing third-party companies to create apps for it a la open source software for smartphones. Giving software companies kits to integrate software, OnStar used part of its press time to introduce Shelby Clark, the founder of RelayRides and also the first contractor to create an OnStar app. "We're really proud to be OnStar's first customer," he says, outlining how the program would work.
Potential rideshare customers will be able to find owners of any OnStar-equipped vehicles online from which to rent vehicles. Customers who agree with owners will then be able to open up the cars via a smartphone or text message. Rental rates will start at just a few dollars per hour, including insurance, and should range as high as an owner may wish depending on the vehicle and his or her reputation using RelayRides. Clark says that a vehicle owner should be able to earn as much as $1000 per month with the service. But should someone with little need for his or her car worry that a stranger thrash a car without remorse, a reputations points system will be used. Further, all users of RelayRides will have to have a clean driving record, and vehicles will be insured up to $1 million. Clark and OnStar vice president Nick Pudar claim the OnStar application will be virtually unhackable because General Motors' OnStar will be handling all of the security measures from tracking cars to be able to deactivate them if a vehicle is reported missing or stolen. They explained the process alongside host Katie Linendoll, assuring guests that this use of technology is a natural progression for OnStar technology. Undergoing final testing, Clark says that RelayRides is just a few steps from reaching the public. He and OnStar officials said it should be ready for public consumption sometime early this year. Should you think you have what it takes to make the next great integrated application, GM has email address, developers@onstar.com, to allow aspiring software developers a shot at receiving an OnStar software development kit.