Verizon announces Verizon Vehicle at North American International Auto Show.
While a number of new cars are rolling off assembly lines with built-in LTE or other means by which to keep you connected, Verizon is offering a new package to connect older cars to roadside service using telematics similar to OnStar. Essentially, Verizon is looking at the after market business by plugging a phone into your car’s OBD-II port to warn drivers of potential problems before they occur. The system also provides GPS location services and allows drivers to speak with assistance via a smartphone app or Bluetooth speaker that attaches to the sun visor.
Verizon Vehicle: $15 a month
“We’re introducing a new service that will make driving safer, smarter and more economical,” said Verizon Telematics President Eric Goldman.
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Verizon is planning to launch the service sometime in the second quarter. While the hardware is free, Verizon Vehicle costs $15 a month and requires a two-year contract. Unlike AAA which offers roadside assistance at $52 a month and requires you to have a phone to contact them after a problem occurs, Verizon is hoping that its system will find you driving to a mechanic before there is a problem given the preventive diagnostic information available to it.
Additional features include:
- GPS-enabled roadside assistance that will give dispatch assistance to an exact location.
- Verizon Vehicle’s Automatic Urgent Incident Alert System will automatically connect to the Verizon Vehicle Member Care Center if the system believes that you have been involved in an accident. Again using GPS, assistance will be dispatched to your location if the accident is confirmed by the driver or, perhaps more importantly, if the driver doesn’t or is unable to respond.
- Members of Verizon Vehicle are entitled to a number of travel related discounts including hotels and car rentals as well as discounts with chosen mechanics.
- The system, if not unplugged, allows agents to connect with police when tracking down a stolen vehicle with precise location information.
- Verizon Vehicle provides maintenance alerts reminding you when an oil change is in your future or your tires need rotating.
- There is a Mechanic’s Hotline which employs A.S.E. Certified Mechanics to take the guesswork out of what may be ailing your car.
- An SOS button provides drivers with the ability to speak to an live agent in the event of an emergency with a single push of a button.
As many new cars are linking drivers to help, Verizon is betting that a number of people will be interested in this after-market alternative.