Two connected car companies are putting connected spins on reindeer and Santa this holiday. OnStar will now give Santa’s GPS location and HERE is helping cars avoid reindeer near the North Pole.
OnStar Santa Alerts
OnStar subscribers can get in the Christmas spirit during holiday travel across the U.S., Canada and Mexico by pushing their blue button to learn Santa Claus’ whereabouts between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.
With support from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its 60 years of Santa-tracking experience, OnStar for the seventh consecutive year will reveal Santa’s location to the curious between 6 a.m. EST Dec. 24 and 5 a.m. EST on Dec. 25.
If parents want to entertain the kids in the car, OnStar and its AtYourService partner Audiobooks will offer subscribers complimentary copies of the Christmas classic “The Night before Christmas,” downloadable via an email link sent by an OnStar advisor. Everyone in the vehicle can listen to the book on the Audiobooks mobile app together using Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or a Bluetooth connection, or individually on any of the up to seven mobile devices that can be connected separately to the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
OnStar will also donate a dollar to United Way for Southeast Michigan and the United Way Mexico for each Santa location call received. Last year, the calls led to a donation of more than $2,600 to the two organizations.
At the North Pole Reindeer Participate in Connected Car Study
In Lapland, reindeer are involved in 4,000 accidents a year. Over a third of Finland is dedicated to herding reindeer, and they don’t cross the road quickly. Reindeer like to linger on the road. When a driver sees a reindeer, it will probably to stay on the road for 30 minutes or more, which is a big an issue for the next vehicle. The Aurora Project is using connected infrastructure with connected cars to keep the reindeer safe by offering driver alerts.
The Aurora Project recruits professional drivers. If a commercial fleet or driver sees reindeer on the road, they press a button. The message is stored in the cloud and a reindeer alert is sent to people heading to the same location. They get the warning signal, and based on early research drivers are changing their behavior. They’re slowing down. It is especially helpful to tourists who are not familiar with reindeer habits, visiting resorts in the area.
The Aurora Project is building a system that will help and assist automated vehicles to operate on a public road, along with warning systems for weather and/or reindeer.
HERE is helping, offering reindeer alert messages courtesy of Paikkatieto Online. The HERE staff noted “If it helps to save Rudolph for Christmas, what’s not to like?”
Note HERE is nominated for the best mapping app for Tech CARS Awards, vote now.