- Safety Benefit
- Performed assessments
Ford’s MyKey is a programmable key system which allows certain settings in the vehicle to be tailored to particular drivers. In particular, the system is designed for parents or guardians whose children have recently passed their driving tests and make use of a shared family car. The car is delivered with several keys. One remains the ‘Admin’ key, allowing settings to be made to other keys, which become programmed keys or ‘MyKeys’. The system is designed to be used cooperatively between the Administrator and MyKey users, with system settings that can be adjusted to be acceptable to both.
When the car detects that a programmed key is in use it always does the following: inhibits the time-out function of the seatbelt reminder so that the warning will stop only when a seatbelt is worn; muting the audio system until the seat belts are fastened; prevents the parking aid system from being disabled; and prevents manual entry into the navigation system, if fitted, whilst the car is being driven. Optionally, the following may also be configured: a speed limitation function which prevents the car being driven above a certain speed; a speed warning function which signals to the MyKey user that the speed has exceeded a certain pre-determined value; Active City Stop and Traction Control are prevented from being disabled; and the output of the stereo system is limited to minimise possible distractions.
Young male drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 make up some 18 percent of fatally injured drivers and passengers in Europe. In some cases, cars are driven irresponsibly. In others, simple inexperience leads to mistakes being made: drivers may exceed speed limits without realising that they are doing so or may forget to use their seatbelts. MyKey offers parents an opportunity to limit the likelihood of such oversights and to encourage their children to drive safely and responsibly. It is estimated that, if every car in Europe were fitted with such a system, some 4000 accidents and over 150 fatalities could be prevented.
With this first generation of programmable keys, the safety benefit is limited. Euro NCAP however believes that in the future when combined with other advanced safety systems significantly more benefit can be achieved with these type of systems.
There is only one choice of speed to which the car can be limited when MyKey is in use, and this speed is slightly above the national motorway speed limits of most countries. There is no detection of the road type on which the car is being driven.
The accidents which will be prevented by the system represent a sub-set of all accident types in which young people are killed or injured.
The greatest limitation is the extent to which it will be used by parents or guardians. Ford can make the system available but cannot make people use it. MyKey has been designed to allow a configuration to be achieved which is agreeable to all parties and it is expected that this flexibility will encourage widespread use.
Ford have used several methods to test and check the functionality of MyKey. Internal tests have been done using HiL (hardware in the loop) procedures and track testing to ensure that a programmed key can be properly detected and that it sets the non-configurable and configurable parameters described above. In addition, external tests have been done at an independent laboratory to confirm the functionality of the system. Assumptions have had to be made regarding the extent to which the system will be used.