Auto Electronics

Ford's programmable MyKey

A feature called MyKey that will be standard equipment on the 2010 Ford Focus and become standard on other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle's top speed and audio volume. The feature also encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 miles per hour.

"MyKey can help promote safer driving, particularly among teens, by encouraging seat belt use, limiting speed and reducing distractions," said Susan Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

"We've upgraded the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system with some simple software upgrades to develop a new feature that we believe will resonate with customers," said Jim Buczkowski, director, Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering. "We also developed MyKey's functions in such a way 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 safety belts, stability control and SYNC."

The MyKey system allows the vehicle owner to program any key through the vehicle message center, which updates the SecuriLock 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 Ford Beltminder with audio mute, and earlier low-fuel warning (75 versus 50 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. Owners can program a top speed of 80 mph; limit audio to 44% of maximum volume; sound speed alert chimes at 45, 55, or 65 mph, and prevent drivers from deactivating the vehicle’s traction control system.

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