Starting in 2010, Ford will be offering what they call their "Any Key" option that will allow parents to control certain features of the car using a computer chip embedded in the key. While putting chips in keys has been around for awhile for security reasons, Ford's chip will do a bit more all controlled by the parents including:
- Alert every 6 seconds that the driver’s safety belt is unbuckled
- Limit top speed to 80 miles per hour
- Set off speed warning alerts at 45, 55 or 65 miles per hour
- Limit stereo volume to 44% of maximum
- Traction control cannot be disabled
- Optional blind spot detection cannot be disabled
- Earlier low-fuel warning
As you can imagine, teenagers might have issues with some of these restrictions but for parents already on pins and needles each time their kid takes the car it could give them a little piece of mind.
Ford plans on offering this feature as standard equipment on the Focus and initially as an option on other models with it moving to a standard feature down the line. Now if we could only do something with South Dakota's ridiculously low minimum driving age of 14...