Ford Seeks Patent for Self Repossessing Cars, Lock Owner Out

Delinquent payments may lock you out of vehicle except to go to work

A patent application from automaker Ford was published last week for embedded vehicle systems that facilitate an automobile’s repossession, including autonomously moving it to a repossession agency.

The patent [PDF], which was filed in August, covers more ways to combat non-payment. The least intrusive is a helpful message delivered to the vehicle or a smartphone notifying the user of the delinquency.

If notices go unacknowledged, the system can disable select functionalities of the vehicle or even lock the vehicle out entirely – save for a medical emergency where it could potentially travel to a hospital or ambulance meeting spot autonomously.

For autonomous cars and trucks, why stop at rendezvousing with emergency vehicles? The patent also outlines the system’s capability to move that vehicle to a parking spot more convenient for towing, as well as just relocating it off private property or other inaccessible areas. As mentioned, it could also move itself to a repossession agency or junkyard.

The patent also outlines a potential to lock the vehicle out on weekends only so that the driver can still access a job and might be able to come through on those delinquent payments. Geofencing the automobile’s range is another option.

In a more passive aggressive case, audio within the vehicle, such as a beeping horn, chime or radio, could be activated remotely to annoy the operator.

Read More: The Register