Self-driving autonomous vehicles are an exciting idea with many upsides, which is why every automaker is working on the tech, but it’s not all good news. The dark and sinister side of that tech is that one day, your Ford car or truck could take over and repossess itself.
A new Ford patent published in February imagines a future where the automaker could remotely disable critical aspects of a vehicle if you’re late on payments. Then, adding fuel to your fears, autonomous cars could repossess themselves if you fall far enough behind on your big monthly payment.
While the United States Patent Office (USPTO) received the idea in 2021, titled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle,” the patent was formally published on February 23rd. Just because Ford submitted such a patent doesn’t mean the technology will ever see the light of day.
That said, it’s still a scary thought. Any vehicle with a data connection could be susceptible to features like the radio and AC being disabled, which could nudge those behind on payments and dodging repossession to stop driving the car or truck finally.
At first, an owner behind on a loan could potentially get delinquency notices sent to the infotainment display, which would be embarrassing if others were in the car with you. If there’s no response, Ford could issue a second notice, then take more dystopian measures.
Some of those more advanced measures include disabling key features like air conditioning, the radio, or even the entire infotainment display. At one point, the document mentioned emitting loud noises to irritate and prevent owners from driving the vehicle.
According to the patent, vehicles with autonomous or self-driving capabilities could move the car from one spot to another that’s more accessible for a tow truck driver. Even worse, the vehicle could repossess itself in certain situations and drive back to the dealership or repossession agency.
Most people will instantly think of electric vehicles here, as they’re leading the charge on advanced systems and technologies. That said, self-driving features aren’t limited to electric cars, and as the technology improves, it’ll trickle down to more affordable models that are more likely to get repossessed.
Ford thought of everything, too. If the “financial viability of executing a repossession procedure” isn’t worth it, the vehicle could take over and drive itself to a junkyard. I don’t know about you, but everything about this sounds awful.
The patent office published the documents but has yet to grant any such patent, at least not yet. That said, we often see these types of patents with wild ideas that never come to fruition. Either way, count me out.
via The Drive