OnStar launches new pilot app for Android that reads text and Facebook messages

General Motors and OnStar announced today that they are launching a new public pilot test of a voice communications app for Android mobile phones that enables drivers to send and receive text messages and Facebook updates using only their voices. The app uses a Bluetooth connection between drivers’ phones and their vehicles.

“According to the 2009 Pew Internet & American Life Project, 42 percent of all drivers have texted while driving, which has emerged as a major safety concern in recent years,” GM said in a statement.

GM believes that with the OnStar Voice Communications App, drivers will not look away from the road or take hands off the wheel to receive or send messages.

Requirements: A mobile phone running Android 2.2 or higher; either a GM vehicle with built-in Bluetooth or a vehicle equipped with the new OnStar retail product. OnStar is considering expanding the app in future to work with other manufacturer’s in-vehicle Bluetooth systems, and adapting the app to run on other mobile platforms.

Hit the jump to see the list of key features OnStar voice communications app for Android.

Key Features:

• Incoming SMS text messages and Facebook updates are converted from text to synthetic speech by the app, then sent via Bluetooth to the vehicle’s speakers or to the speakers in the OnStar retail product.

• Drivers can respond by voice through the in-vehicle or retail product microphone in several ways:

  • Select by voice command among a list of defined messages, such as “Yes,” “No” and “Driving.”
  • Speak a custom message, which is transcribed into text; also custom messages can be posted as audio clips in Facebook.
  • For text messages, say “Call Back” and the driver’s phone will automatically dial the phone number associated with the incoming message.
  • For text messages, set an automatic reply to all incoming messages, such as: “I’m on the road until 3 p.m. and can get back to you then.”
  • For Facebook updates, the driver can say “Like” to like a friend’s update.

• Three operating modes help drivers learn how the app works:

  • Beginner – provides full voice prompts for all features.
  • Intermediate – provides fewer and shorter voice prompts.
  • Expert – no voice prompts.

– By: Omar Rana