Ford announced today that it will debut a new version of its MyKey technology which will allow parents to block explicit satellite radio content in the vehicle and prevent their kids to view or listen certain types of television and Internet content. Set to make its debut in 2011 as standard equipment on the Ford Taurus and Explorer, MyKey was designed in order to help parents encourage safe teen driving habits.
Moreover, the key can be programmed to limit a vehicle’s top speed, limit radio volume and encourage safety-belt usage by muting the radio until front occupants buckle up.
For those who don’t know, the current MyKey system is found as standard on most North American vehicles after launching in summer 2009 and allows parents to limit the vehicle’s top speed to 80 mph, with chimes sounding at 45, 55 and 65 mph. The upgraded MyKey will allow them to limit a vehicle’s top speed at any of four different settings – 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph.
Graydon Reitz, director at Ford Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering, remarked that the American carmaker wants parents to be assured that their children are following practical household rules even inside a car. He remarked that many parents like this feature and are more willing to let their teenagers drive the car more often if the vehicle is featured with technologies like MyKey, with teens approving of restrictions to gain more time behind the wheel.
A survey conducted by Schoen & Berland for Ford showed that almost 60 percent of parents of teen drivers consider as an important technology the new MyKey feature that enables them to block explicit radio content. The survey also showed that 85 percent of parents with teen drivers also consider the speed-limiting feature as important. The new Mykey allows parents to set appropriate and even higher speed limits for their teens who are transitioning from town cruising to highway driving.
MyKey already allows users to control audio volume and alerts them when the fuel is nearing a low point. Moreover, MyKey encourages safety-belt usage by turning off the radio volume until front occupants buckle themselves up. Over half of the parents surveyed said that they would permit their teens to use their family vehicle more often if it comes with MyKey. Around 45 percent of teens surveyed said they would approve of MyKey restrictions if it meant being allowed to drive more often.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that teens are more likely to commit speeding, which is considered as a factor in around 30 percent of crashes resulting to death. Moreover, teens are less likely to secure themselves on safety belts than older drivers.
Reitz remarked that MyKey helps parents set reasonable limits for their teens as they develop their driving skills. Reitz said that Ford developed MyKey's functions to allow it to be installed on multiple vehicle lines, thereby enabling the carmaker to mass market the feature as well as other Ford innovations like SYNC.