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Ford's new MyKey will help parents slow their teens down on the roads and "turn down that noise".  (Source: Ford)
New key makes sure teens don't emulate Joe Walsh's driving habits

Usually when you think high-tech and cars, you think luxury or performance.  However, a new technology from Ford is built on quite an opposite line of thinking -- slowing down.

A common fear among parents for decades has been that they might give the car keys to their kid only to have the kid pump up the stereo and put the pedal to the medal and lose control of the car.  The possibility of saying "bye bye" to the new family car is enough for many parents to say "bye bye" to the possibility of their teen borrowing the new family car.

However, a new technology from Ford may offer a cure for worry warts.  Ford is introducing MyKey technology in the 2010 Ford Focus Coupe aimed at pedal-happy teens.  The technology will quickly spread to all of Ford's product line.  The new technology is a special car key which limits the vehicle's functionality, allowing parents to hand over the car keys with less concern.

With the MyKey in the ignition, the car's top speed is limited to 80 mph and/or the stereo is limited to 44 percent of the maximum volume.  Parents can set or unset these options, based on how responsible they think their young drivers are.  With the key parents can also enable a sustain chime which will go off if the driver or passengers aren't using their seatbelts.

Even teens are begrudgingly warming up to the new idea.  When surveyed, 67 percent of teens didn't like "the man" sticking it to their driving rights.  However, when the teens were informed that the system would increase the frequency that their parents lent them their car, all but 36 percent got behind the idea.

For Ford, the new technology was relatively easy to implement as it uses off-the-shelf tech from within the company.  For the new system, Ford adapted its SecuriLock tech, used in car-theft deterrence, which recognizes which key is in the ignition and adjusts the allowed vehicle operation accordingly.

The MyKey system is packed with even more functionality, also allowing traction control to be permanently enabled and enabling warning chimes to go off when the car reaches 45, 55 or 65 mph.

Teens and others may find the technology a bit Big Brother-esque, but at least with this new system kids will get access to a new set of wheels complete with Ford's hot SYNC technology -- so they shouldn't have too much to complain about.





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