Cars are becoming increasingly loaded with content, including satellite radio, which features a number of channels and content parents may not want their teenage drivers listening to. What’s a parent to do? Well, with the introduction of radio blocking controls on Ford’s MyKey, they now have the option of allowing their teens to use the car without the chance of them stumbling upon the likes of Howard Stern.
Ford’s new radio blocking feature works by screening out over 12 channels labeled as explicit by Sirius/XM itself. This gives parents the ability to more closely control what their kids listen to in the car, functioning much like security functions on modern televisions. These codes are programmed into the key’s microchip and read by the car’s computers, meaning kids can’t try and unlock them once the vehicle is started and on its way.
The radio screening is the latest addition to Ford’s list of MyKey features, all targeted at new drivers. Other MyKey tricks include a seat belt warning that mutes the radio until both front passengers are buckled in, an early low-fuel indicator, the inability to deactivate safety systems such as Ford’s blind-spot monitoring system and traction control, an audio volume limit, and a speed alert chime. Additionally, MyKey also allows parents to limit their teens’ top speed to 65, 70, 75, or 80 mph.
“Like graduated licensing laws, MyKey helps parents set reasonable limits for teens as they’re building driving skills,” said Graydon Reitz, director of Ford’s electrical and electronic systems engineering. “We developed MyKey’s functions in such a way as 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 Sync.”
The MyKey system is now standard on most Ford and Lincoln models sold in North America.
“Ford wants to give parents peace of mind that their kids are following practical household rules in the car,” said Reitz. “Parents obviously like this type of feature, and many teens are okay with it when they hear parents may give them the keys more often if the car comes with a technology such as Ford’s MyKey.”