New Ford technology for parents

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Ford is helping parents encourage younger motorists to drive more safely with a new technology that can block incoming phone calls and text messages while they are behind the wheel.

The new Ford MyKey® ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature is an industry first and is designed to help parents encourage younger drivers to concentrate on the road ahead by reducing phone-related distractions.

The industry-first feature – called Do Not Disturb – is part of Ford’s MyKey technology, an easily programmable key that helps parents encourage safer driving among younger drivers.  Do Not Disturb works byblocking incoming phone calls or text messages from a Bluetooth-paired mobile phone, diverting calls to voicemail and saving text messages on the device for viewing later.

Ford MyKey allows owners to program a special key that can also restrict the vehicle’s top speed to 140 km/h (80mph) and limit audio volume. In addition, MyKey encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at set points between 70-100 km/h (45-70 mph in the UK).

“MyKey adds a new dimension to auto safety by giving drivers standard technology that encourages safer driving and limits their exposure to risk, regardless of age or experience,” 
said Peter Patzelt, Ford system architect for MyKey. “MyKey can give parents peace of mind when they hand the keys over to their kids, and the new Do Not Disturb feature helps parents control another risk factor when their child gets behind the wheel.”

Research suggests European drivers under the age of 25 are statistically up to three
times more likely to be involved in a fatal road accident than experienced drivers, some 58,000 
18-24-year-olds were killed in European road accidents between 1999 and 2008.

“Inexperienced drivers are typically the most at-risk drivers on the road,” Patzelt said. “The more we can do to encourage safe driving and limit distraction the better. With MyKey, parents can set limitations, while still allowing the freedom of driving a car.”

Safety for all the family

The MyKey Do Not Disturb feature joins a comprehensive suite of affordable technologies developed by Ford to help protect drivers and occupants of all ages.

For example, the award-winning Focus is the first vehicle in its segment available with Active City Stop low-speed collision avoidance technology, designed to help the driver reduce impact damage or potentially avoid a collision completely. This technology recently received a Euro NCAP Advanced reward, as did Ford’s Lane Keeping Aid which uses a forward camera to detect if a vehicle drifts out of its lane and applies a small amount of steering input to actively steer the vehicle back into the lane.

Soon, Ford will introduce industry first rear-inflatable seat belts in its European product range, offering increased protection to rear seat occupants.

“At Ford, our mission is to provide outstanding levels of safety through accident avoidance technologies and advanced occupant protection systems,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.

MyKey will become available from 2012 onwards in the Ford Fiesta and will then roll out to the rest of the model line-up.