As it wrestles with perhaps
the worst car market in its long history, Ford
continues to innovate, this time with a microchip-based ignition key that reigns
in bad or teenage drivers.
the new device sets up speed alarms, restricts audio volume, limits top speed to 80 mph and provides earlier low fuel warnings. Two years in development, MyKey
also allows key owners to set the parameters, much like an IT administrator
would for a group of computer users.
"The way you designate the MyKey
is to go through a setup menu. You set, reset and hold to confirm. That
basically updates the lookup data in the vehicle network that sets all the
keys," says Tom Miller, Ford's systems engineer on the MyKey
project. Up to eight keys can be programmed in this way.
When the MyKey
is put in the ignition, the system reads the transponder chip and enables selected
driving modes such as seatbelt reminders, top speed enforcement and chime
reminders for 45, 55 and 65 mph, limiting the auto volume to 44 percent of maximum,
according to the press release. The chip is a Texas Instruments TIRIS radio frequency integrated circuit,
according to a Ford spokesman. He would not be more specific given the
proprietary and security nature of MyKey.
will become standard in the 2010 Ford Focus and will quickly spread across the
and Mercury lines. It builds off a key transponder that Ford first deployed on
select models starting in 1996 and that is Ford's standard key system today.
"We are addressing those risky behaviors. MyKey
is like having parents in the vehicle when they are not in the vehicle," Miller says.
Ford also recently
introduced a Collision
Warning with Brake Support radar system that warns drivers of pending
collisions and pre-charges the brakes for shorter stopping distances. It is one
of three radar technologies Ford is launching in 2008 and 2009 Ford and Lincoln models.