Ford is set to debut a new technology that will let parents block explicit satellite radio content in their cars.
The blocking feature will be standard equipment on new versions of the Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer next year. It will be part of Ford's MyKey technology, which already has several designated features designed to encourage safe driving for teenagers. MyKey can limit a vehicle's top speed, limit radio volume and encourage safety-belt usage by muting the radio until the front occupants buckle up.
The radio feature will be able to screen out more than a dozen channels labeled by Sirius Satellite radio as explicit. It will use similar technology used by TV and computer manufacturers, also aimed at halting inappropriate content.
We have the equivalent of a V-Chip that will allow parents to filter-out certain adult programming on satellite radio. In SIRIUS radio they actually broadcast a little code for adult programming and so when My Key is turned on, we look for that code and if that code is present in the channel that the MyKey driver is listening to it will suppress that channel and a message will be on the radio that says, that has been suppressed by MyKey, said Andy Sarkisian, safety planning and strategy manager at Ford.
Ford said it is looking to quickly spread the MyKey function across multiple vehicle lines. Sarkisian said he expects it to be on 80 percent of their new vehicles in the near future. Already, he says the company has gotten positive feedback from sales people and consumers.
Sales people have told us that when they have a buyer and the buyer has teenagers and they mention the MyKey feature on it... every single one of them says how do I turn that on and there have been no complaints coming back, Sarkisian said.
The updated MyKey feature will let parents set their child's top speed to four different setting - 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph. An earlier version of the MyKey feature only let parents set the top speed at 80 mph.
Ford wants to give parents peace of mind that their kids are following practical household rules in the car, Graydon Reitz, director of Ford's Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering division, said in a statement. 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.