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Ford MyKey to Arrive in Europe in 2012, Delivering Control to Concerned Parents
- Ford MyKey to make its European debut in 2012, enabling car owners to encourage their teenagers to drive safer and more fuel efficiently, and increase safety-belt usage
- Maximum speed and audio volume limits are among configurable features; audio remains muted until seat belts are fastened; driver aids, safety systems and more vigorous alerts cannot be deactivated when MyKey is used
- MyKey delivers control to parents, with 53 per cent saying the features would encourage them to give young drivers greater access to vehicles
BERLIN,Germany, Sept. 1, 2011 – Ford Motor Company is introducing its exclusive MyKey technology in Europe in 2012 to help parents encourage their teenagers to use their safety-belt while driving more safely and fuel efficiently.
The system, which is already a success in the U.S., will eventually be provided as standard on compatible Ford vehicles in Europe, beginning next year.
MyKey will allow owners to program a special key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume. MyKey also further encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at set points between 70-100kph (45-70 miles per hour 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. “In particular, MyKey can give parents peace of mind when they hand the keys over to their kids.”
MyKey is appealing to parents of teen drivers according to a recent survey by Opinion Matters Market Research. Over half (53 per cent) of those who would consider purchasing MyKey also said they would allow their children to use the family vehicle more often if it were equipped with the new technology.
Research suggests that 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, while 58,000
18-24-year-olds were killed in 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.”
MyKey helps address one of the key causes of accidents among younger drivers – excessive speed. It’s the cause of 30 per cent of accidents involving young male drivers and 21 percent of accidents with young female drivers across Europe. MyKey allows owners to limit the vehicle’s top speed to 140 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour in the UK) and deliver audible and visual speed warnings at a set point between 70-100kph (45-70mph).
Speeding rates as one of the most significant concerns for the parents of young drivers, with
46 per cent saying it is their biggest worry, followed by talking on mobile phones whilst driving (37 per cent) and their child being distracted by others in the car (35 per cent).
MyKey also includes features that:
- Limit the volume on the car audio system
- Prevent the Electronic Stability Programme from being disabled
- Prevent seat belt reminders from being disabled and deliver a belt warning that will not time-out and mutes the audio system until occupied front seats have their belts fastened
- Deliver an earlier low-fuel warning – at 120 kilometers (75 miles)
- Prevent the driver from disabling Lane Departure Warning System, which delivers an audible and visual alert if the car begins drifting from its lane, and Blind Spot Information System, which monitors vehicle blind spots for hazards
- Prevent the driver from disabling the Forward Alert function, which delivers audible and visual warnings to drivers when a collision is likely, and Active City Stop, which automatically brakes a vehicle when a collision is imminent
As well as leveraging the existing range of advanced driver aids available to European Ford customers, MyKey will also integrate with future Ford systems. Following SYNC’s European arrival in 2012 parents will be able to configure the SYNC Emergency Assistance feature to place an emergency call via a tethered Bluetooth® phone, with location coordinates sent to the emergency services in the event of an accident.
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: "We work closely with the other emergency services in London to try to educate young people about the dangers of speeding, and the consequences of what can happen if they drive too fast.
"It can sometimes come to down to peer pressure, or wanting to impress their friends, but the results can be devastating for themselves, their passengers, other road users and all of their families.
"Our staff can also be affected by responding to calls where youngsters have been killed or seriously injured, and it is made even sadder by the fact that a lot of the most serious incidents could have been avoided."
53 per cent of parents questioned by Ford felt that the features delivered by MyKey would cause them to allow young drivers greater access to vehicles, and young drivers see the benefits, too. While 15 per cent predictably said they would be very unhappy with having their top speed and audio system volume limited by their parents, 46 per cent said they would be happy to concede control over these elements if it gave them greater access to their parents’ cars.
Ford research suggests that while 74 per cent of parents are aware that disproportionate percentage of road accidents involve first time drivers annually, 76 per cent of young drivers admit to driving more carefully with a parent present in the car.
“There can be little doubt that when MyKey integrates with existing and forthcoming driver aids and safety technologies available in Ford vehicles it will offer considerable safety benefits for young drivers”, said Matthew Avery, Crash and Safety Research Manager, Thatcham.
"MyKey holds the potential to make previously inaccessible vehicles available to younger drivers, in turn increasing car-sharing possibilities and further reducing the costs of car ownership. It also opens the door to many future possibilities including the potential to manage drivers' insurance premiums within specialist products. It's an intriguing prospect."
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.fordmotorcompany.com.
Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 51 individual markets and employs approximately 66,000 employees. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford of Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 22 manufacturing facilities, including joint ventures. The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.