Ford succeeds where legislators fail
23rd January, 2011
- Ford is upgrading its award-winning North American MyKey® feature with a world-first technology
that allows people to block explicit satellite radio programming
- The upgraded MyKey technology also will allow parents to limit a vehicle’s top speed at any of
four different settings – 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph
- A new poll by Penn, Schoen & Berland shows a majority of parents with teen drivers like
MyKey’s features, including nearly 60 per cent who say the feature to block adult radio programming
is important and 85 per cent who believe the speed-limiting feature is important
- The upgraded version of MyKey will debut as a standard feature late 2011 on the Ford Taurus and
Explorer and will then be offered across a variety of Ford and Lincoln models
With it being obvious that legislators and the entertainment industry failing to recognise any
level of decency, Ford Motor Company is preparing to debut a new version of its breakthrough MyKey®
technology that – for the first time – will allow parents to block explicit satellite radio content
in the vehicle, much like parents are able to prevent children from viewing certain types of
television and Internet content.
The new feature will debut this year as standard equipment on the Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer,
and will eventually be available across a variety of Ford and Lincoln vehicles. MyKey – designed to
help parents encourage safe teen driving habits – is an easily programmable key that can limit a
vehicle’s top speed, limit radio volume and encourage safety-belt usage by muting the radio until
front occupants buckle up.
The radio-blocking feature works by screening out more than a dozen channels labelled by Sirius®
Satellite Radio as “explicit.” While similar technology is used for blocking inappropriate content
on televisions and computers, never before has such an option been available for radio programming
Ford’s current MyKey system – standard on most North American vehicles after launching in
(northern) summer 2009 – allows owners to programme a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed to
80 mph, with chimes sounding at 45, 55 and 65 mph. The upgraded MyKey technology will now allow
parents to limit a vehicle’s top speed at any of four different settings – 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph.
“Ford wants to give parents peace of mind that their kids are following practical household
rules in the car,” says Graydon Reitz, director, Ford Electrical and Electronic Systems
Engineering. “Parents obviously like this type of feature, and many teens are okay with it when
they hear parents may give them the keys more often if the car comes with a technology such as
In a poll conducted for Ford by Penn, Schoen & Berland, nearly 60 per cent of parents of teen
drivers said the new MyKey feature that allows for blocking explicit radio content is an important
technology. The survey also indicated that 85 per cent of parents with teen drivers find the
speed-limiting feature important.
The additional top-speed limits available in the next generation of MyKey will help parents set
appropriate limits as their teens transition from driving in town to travelling on the highway.
Additional features already available on MyKey limit audio volume, encourage safety-belt usage by
muting the radio until front occupants buckle up, and provide earlier low-fuel warnings.
In the poll, more than half of parents also said they would allow their teens to use the family
vehicle more often if it were equipped with MyKey. Meanwhile, 45 per cent of teens surveyed would
approve of MyKey restrictions if it meant the possibility of additional driving privileges.
Tuning into teen safety
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teens are more likely to take
risks such as speeding – a contributing factor in 30 per cent of all fatal crashes. Teens also are
less likely to wear safety belts than older drivers.
“Like graduated licencing laws, MyKey helps parents set reasonable limits for teens as they’re
building driving skills,” Reitz said. “We developed MyKey’s functions in such a way as 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 SYNC®.”
Holding the key
MyKey allows the parent to programme any key through the intuitive MyFord Touch™ interface.
When the key 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 Belt-Minder® with audio mute. Ford’s Belt-Minder system typically provides a
six-second reminder chime every minute for five minutes. With MyKey, the Belt-Minder chime
continues at the regular interval and the audio system is muted until the safety belt is buckled.
A message centre display, “Buckle Up to Unmute Radio,” also appears on the instrument cluster
- 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 BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System)
with cross-traffic alert cannot be deactivated
Additional MyKey features that can be programmed through the vehicle’s MyFord Touch menu:
- Parental control of explicit radio programming
- Limited top speed of 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph
- Traction control system, which limits tyre spin, cannot be deactivated
- Limited audio volume to 44 per cent of maximum
- A speed alert chime at 45, 55 or 65 mph
Using MyKey to encourage teens to avoid speeding can provide an added benefit – improved fuel
economy. Ford research shows that driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph consumes 15 per cent less fuel,
and mastering other eco-driving habits, such as avoiding 'jackrabbit' starts and excessive idling,
can help improve fuel economy by more than 50 per cent.