DEARBORN, MI – Ford Motor Company is introducing an innovative new "MyKey" technology next year on several Ford fleet vehicles. The technology allows fleet customers to limit top speed and radio volume, set speed warnings, and assures safety systems remain engaged to help protect drivers and vehicle inventories.
Ford's MyKey can help fleet owners better mitigate one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes — excessive speed. NHTSA data shows that speeding is a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, with the estimated economic cost of speeding-related crashes topping out at more than $40 billion each year.
"We've upgraded an existing, proven technology — the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system — with some simple software upgrades to develop a new unique feature that we believe will resonate with customers," said Jim Buczkowski, director, Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering — the same team that developed SYNC in partnership with Microsoft. "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 users to program any key through the vehicle message center, 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 audio system is muted with the first Beltminder chime and the chime continues at the regular interval 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 tire spin, cannot be deactivated.
- Limited audio volume to 44 percent of total volume.
- A speed alert chime at 45, 55, or 65 mph.
Using MyKey to help avoid speeding can provide the added benefit of improved fuel economy. Ford research shows that driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph consumes 15 percent less fuel, and mastering other eco-driving habits, such as avoiding jackrabbit starts and excessive idling, can help improve fuel economy by more than 50 percent.
Ford internal research helped identify the preferences fleet managers consider most useful, with Persistent Beltminder and speed limit restrictions at the top of the list. Ford also reviewed MyKey with fleet managers representing pharmaceutical, insurance, utility, and a variety of other businesses that rely heavily on fleet operations.
For example, Ford engineers incorporated other alert mechanisms that would make the Ford BeltMinder system even more attention-getting for MyKey drivers. For example, the audio system will not work if the driver is not buckled up.