FORD HAS developed a new system which enables parents to limit what their children can do as new drivers, such as defining the car’s top speed, how loud the stereo plays and emit warning sounds if seat belts are not worn.
The MyKey system is due to be introduced to the Ford Focus in America, which will debut next year before going on sale in 2010. If successful, the system will spread to become a standard feature in US Ford, Lincoln and Mercury ranges.
Jim Buczkowski, Ford’s director of electronic and electrical systems engineering, said that MyKey is built on the existing anti-theft ID chips that are already used.
“It’s making use of existing technology and, through the magic of software, we’re able to build features on top of the features we already have,” he said.
MyKey’s main objective is to limit a car’s maximum speed to 80mph (128 Km/h) because, according to Anne McCartt at the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, research has shown that speeding is a major factor in teen crashes.
“I think a system that tries to correct the speeding behaviour has the potential to improve safety,” she said.
As well as limiting speed, stereo sound and ensuring seat belts are worn, other safety options will also allow parents to decide if warning tones should sound if a car goes faster than other preset speeds.