Ford's AppLink system, an extension of the company's SYNC technology, will hit Australia in 2014, the carmaker has confirmed today.
But, before AppLink arrives, Ford Australia will launch the long-awaited MyKey system here, allowing owners to 'lock in' a number of safety-focused features.
Both technologies will be available in select models over the coming year, but MyKey will be here as soon as September, debuting - appropriately - in the new Fiesta ST.
Announced in 2009 and made standard on all 2010 Ford models in the US market, MyKey technology allows drivers to restrict access to various features in their car.
Developed largely to assist owners whose children have driving privileges in the family car, MyKey can limit the vehicle's top speed, lock out the deactivation of traction and stability control systems, and reduce the audio system's maximum volume.
When activated, MyKey also prioritises speed alerts and other reminders, while stopping the seatbelt alert tone and light from timing out until all occupants are buckled in.
"This is a significant safety feature for young drivers, who are over-represented in crash-related statistics in Australia," Ford's global marketing boss, Jim Farley, said in Sydney today.
"MyKey provides some direct parental control over their car. It allows owners to set sensible restrictions for young drivers and delivers piece-of-mind for parents."
The system works by recognising different keys for the same car - with the owner or parent having a 'master key' - and immediately adjusting settings to match pre-selected preferences.
Owners are able to set the system so:
- The audio system is disabled completely if seatbelts are not used
- Chimes sound at set points between 70 km/h and 140 km/h to highlight when the vehicle is travelling at higher speeds
- Seatbelt reminders do not time out
- In addition to the typical low-fuel warnings, an earlier low-fuel warning is delivered at 120 km ; that aims to reduce the likelihood the driver will run out of fuel
- Safety technologies such as Dynamic Stability Control cannot be deactivated
Ford SYNC AppLink
Recently upgraded to a new '2.0' version, Ford's AppLink system will be added to models in the carmaker's Australian, Asian and African ranges.
Arriving as a rival to Holden's MyLink system, AppLink will feature new apps like the Pandora, Kaliki and TuneIn radio services, connecting through the user's smartphone.
With AppLink, customers can control applications on their phones by using integrated voice controls, through the Ford SYNC voice-activated system.
A special AppLink Catalog app will also be featured, allowing drivers to browse other apps compatible with the technology, and app developers will also have access to the platform.
Ford hasn't said which models will get the AppLink system in Australia, but a local debut is scheduled to occur in 2014.