Six months after being launched, General Motors’ OnStar has become the largest in-vehicle communications provider in China with more than 29,000 subscribers. OnStar President Chris Preuss said he expects to have nearly 200,000 users in China by the end of this year.

Preuss made the announcement Wednesday as part of the second “Drive to 2030” Sustainable Urban Mobility Forum at the SAIC-GM Pavilion at Expo 2010. General Motors hosted the “Mobility Internet – Connecting the Virtual Superhighway Forum” at the SAIC-GM Pavilion at Expo 2010.

The Mobility Internet is GM’s vision for a future of connected cars. It refers to the technologies that allow vehicles to collect process and share data by linking them to each other and to an urban network, much as the Internet links computers today. The Mobility Internet will enable vehicle users to connect to their social networks, creating social interaction while on the road.

The Mobility Internet will fundamentally change the way people move in the cities of the future. By redefining the automobile DNA through connectivity technologies, it will help eliminate the growing problems of congestion, traffic accidents and finding parking. At the same time, it will enable autonomous driving so that drivers can fully enjoy the wireless social network as they travel.

—Kevin Wale, GM China President and Managing Director

Telephones and computers have evolved from desktop fixtures tethered by landlines to pocket-size devices that can go anywhere, anytime, connecting us wirelessly to the world via the Internet. Now it’s the automobile’s turn.

—John Du, director of GM’s China Science Lab

The connected car will offer a variety of convenience features while being able to sense what is around them, and communicate with other vehicles and the road system, Du said. This will optimize traffic while shortening travel times and make travel more predictable. Many of the technologies that will enable connected vehicles like GM’s EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle) concept exist today (earlier post). The next step toward entering the Mobility Internet era is moving from concept to commercialization.

GM is positioning OnStar as the best current real-world application of Mobility Internet technologies.

The rapid progress made in the development of technologies such as digitization, networking, information and intelligence gathering has promoted the growth of urban transit systems and society. The basic components for the next generation of transportation systems and intelligent public transit are already on the horizon.

—Yang Xiaoguang, Director of the Department of Transportation Engineering and the ITS Research Center at Shanghai’s Tongji University