As automakers are patenting car technologies for self-driving cars, Ford here has a new interesting patent. It is the feature where the car drives itself to the dealership if the owner misses their payments. The patent was published last week demonstrating Ford’s Systems and Methods to Resposses a vehicle technology. It would require the owner to make proper payments for their vehicle to get their car back.
In the filing, Ford explains that a vehicle owner would receive a message “pertaining to a notice of delinquency of a vehicle-related payment” and then be given a period of time to respond to it. Should it not be addressed, a computer would “disable a functionality of a component of the vehicle or may place the vehicle in a lockout condition.” Although the lockout condition could be lifted in case of an emergency, like going to a hospital or police station. Ford filed the patent in August 2021 although it has not been granted yet.
The patent further outlines possible issues vehicle owners could face should they not respond to messages of a missed payment. This is part of their proposed “multi-step repossession procedure” which starts with disabling components in a “primary-use” category and then “first-level optional-use” and “second-level optional use.”
Components of the primary use include the car’s engine, brakes, gas pedal, steering wheel, or doors. Should a vehicle owner continue to miss payments, components of the first-level optional-use would be disabled like the GPS, MP3 player, cruise control, and more. Then the second-level optional-use components could be disabled like the air conditioning system, key fob, and automatic door lock system.
In another example, Ford said a vehicle owner could also face an “incessant and unpleasant sound every time the owner is present in the vehicle” should they fail to respond to missed payments. And should none of those work, the final and last step would be the car physically taking itself to a repo company. “In some cases, the vehicle can be a semi-autonomous vehicle and the repossession system computer may cooperate with the vehicle computer in the semi-autonomous vehicle from the premises of the owner to a location such as, for example, repossession agency the premises of a lending institution, an impound pound, or any other pre-designated location,” the patent says. It’s unclear if the technology behind Ford’s patent is possible. The company pulled the plug on its self-driving technology development last year.