DEARBORN, Mich. — For everyone who wondered why speed limiters weren’t being talked about for passenger vehicles, Ford has provided an answer.
The new technology – called MyKey – will debut as standard equipment on the 2010 Ford Focus and will quickly become standard on many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models.
MyKey was primarily designed to help parents encourage their teenagers to drive safer and more fuel efficienly, while increasing seatbelt usage.
“MyKey can help promote safer driving, particularly among teens, by encouraging seat belt use, limiting speed and reducing distractions,” said Susan Cischke, Ford group vice-president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
The MyKey system allows a parent to program any key through the vehicle message center, which updates the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system. When the MyKey is inserted into the ignition, the system reads the transponder chip in the key and immediately identifies the MyKey code, which enables certain default driving modes, including:
– Persistent Ford Beltminder with audio mute. With MyKey, the Beltminder chime continues at the regular interval and the audio system is muted until the safety belt is buckled.
– Earlier low-fuel warning. Rather than a warning at 50 miles to empty, MyKey provides a warning at 75 miles to empty.
– If MyKey is in the ignition, features such as Park Aid and BLISTM (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross Traffic Alert cannot be deactivated.
Additional MyKey features that can be programmed through the vehicle’s message center setup menu: a limited top speed of 80 mph; traction control system, that limits tire spin, cannot be deactivated; limited audio volume to 44 percent of total volume; and a speed alert chime at 45, 55 or 65 mph.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teens are more likely to take risks such as speeding – a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes. Teens also are less likely to wear safety belts than older drivers.
“We’ve upgraded an existing, proven technology – the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system – with some simple software upgrades to develop a new unique feature that we believe will resonate with customers,” said Jim Buczkowski, director, Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering – the same team that developed SYNC in partnership with Microsoft. “We also developed MyKey’s functions in such a way to quickly spread it across multiple vehicle lines, giving us the ability to go mass market in the spirit of other Ford innovations such as safety belts, stability control and SYNC.”