Ford has filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that would allow their future vehicles to be remotely repossessed and drive away if a customer misses payments.
The patent was originally filed in 2021, but it wasn’t formally published until last Thursday and discovered by The Drive. Semi-autonomous and autonomous tech is becoming more prevalent in the car world, and it would allow repossessed vehicles to drive to a location where they’re easier to be towed, or they could self-drive to the repo lot. Any Ford vehicle with a data connection would be capable of “[disabling] a functionality of one or more components of the vehicle,” according to the patent. As The Drive points out, this could mean disabling anything from the air conditioning to the engine if drivers ignore warnings from the vehicle.
While Ford’s patent lays out all of the ways the owner could be inconvenienced by ignoring the warnings, including an “incessant and unpleasant sound” being turned on “every time the owner is present in the vehicle,” they add that the vehicle can be driven the case of a medical emergency. The vehicle’s onboard camera could be used alongside a “neural network” to determine the legitimacy of the emergency.