Ford Introduce Car-Limiting Key

Posted on: 09 October 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Cars could soon come with parental controls that limit what younger drivers can do with a vehicle.

The MyKey system, developed by Ford, can limit a car’s top speed, how loud its stereo can be played and sounds warnings if seatbelts are not being worn.

The Ford Focus will be the first to have MyKey, but the car maker said it would become a standard installed feature within the next 18 to 24 months.

The main element of the MyKey system is to limit the top speed of a car to 80mph. Ford says other options allow parents to limit the volume on the car stereo to 44 per cent and set a sustaining chime if the seatbelts aren’t being used.

Other options will let parents decide if warning tones should sound if a car goes faster than 45, 55 or 65 mph, and the MyKey system can permanently enable the traction control system

Clearly targeted towards worry-wart parents, the MyKey system is meant to keep teens safe despite their protestation that a system like this curtails their teenage freedoms.

Ford polled a number of teenagers before announcing their new system and found that 67 per cent of teens didn't like the idea, though that number fell to 36 per cent if the MyKey system led to parents allowing them to use the car more.

Ford's compact version of the Focus, which is due to go on sale in 2010, will be the first to sport MyKey. But a spokesman said it would spread to all cars in the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury range as models are updated.

The MyKey system uses off-the-shelf technology from within Ford, particularly the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system, to identify which keys are in the ignition and therefore which driving mode to enable.

This technology will likely make the Ford Focus Coupe a popular choice for both parents and teens, the latter of which may be appeased by the SYNC communications and entertainment system that's also available in these cars.

Will the MyKey system be a success?

Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. 

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