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Ford for when mummy becomes nanny

Editorial Staff

Ford has announced that its next generation of cars will feature parental controls.

Ford want your kids to be safe, to use less fuel and to protect their ears. But instead of producing cars that meet those objectives it has decided to apply parental controls to standard cars.

The "MyKey" (which has a tm to increase its credibility) allows parents to set the maximum speed for the car and maximum audio volumes. But the question remains: many young drivers are at least as responsible as older drivers. If Ford was serious, then why not make cars with a maximum speed of, say 60mph, a maximum volume of, say, 75db (and soundproof the car so engine and road noise make that volume practicable) and include a breath test which will also detect smoke.

The MyKey "encourages" safety-belt usage - if course, cars may be programmed to refuse to start if the belt is not used.

But the survey that Ford uses to support the technology says that parents are worried about something that MyKey cannot cope with: young drivers using mobile phones for speech or text. Again, there's a simple fix for this: a cellphone blocker can be added to the car. But then, no doubt, someone would argue that the kids need the phone for use in an emergency.

Ford's release says "

The MyKey system allows the parent to programme any key through the vehicle message centre, 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. Ford’s Beltminder system typically provides a six-second reminder chime every minute for five minutes. With MyKey, the Beltminder chime continues at the regular interval and the audio system is muted until the safety belt is buckled. A message center 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 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:

* Limited top speed of 80 mph
* Traction control system, that limits tyre spin, cannot be deactivated
* Limited audio volume to 44 percent of total volume
* A speed alert chime at 45, 55 or 65 mph