Imagine waking up late one day, rushing outside to hop in your new Ford electric vehicle, only to find it has driven off on its own because you missed a payment. Well, this may soon be a reality, according to a new patent filed by Ford that would allow its future EVs to repossess themselves autonomously.
New patent shows Ford EVs could repossess themselves
It may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but Ford recently filed a patent titled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle,” which would allow its future EVs (or any car) to repo themselves.
The patent, unearthed by TheDrive, was officially published on February 23 after being submitted in August 2021.
The documents reveal a series of creative (and potentially dangerous) ways in which Ford could squeeze a payment out of even the utmost penny pincher.
For example, the patent shows if you default on a payment and fail to respond to the notice of intent, the vehicle could execute the first step in a multistep repossession procedure, such as activating the stereo to “emit an incessant and unpleasant sound” every time you step in it.
To make things worse, you may not be able to turn the audio off until first contacting the lending institution to address the late payment.
If somehow you manage to overcome the earsplitting sounds, the car’s system computer may disable the door lock mechanism, effectively placing the vehicle in a lockout state. In some instances, you may be able to drive on weekends or within a specific zone.
And if you still don’t take action to resolve the late payment, the car EV can autonomously move to a convenient towing spot to be repossessed or to the impound lot itself.
In some cases, if the car’s value is below a certain threshold, it may just drive itself straight to the junkyard.
There’s a lot to take in from this patent. For one thing, the document describes a “repossession computer” that could be installed but won’t necessarily need any additional hardware components, meaning if your vehicle (any type of vehicle, not EV specific) is connected to the internet, the idea could theoretically work.
Although a patent doesn’t mean Ford will go through with it, it’s clearly an idea the automaker has more than just tossed around.
There are a few things to consider, like what if you need the vehicle for an emergency? To be fair, Ford did include technology in the patent that uses exterior cameras to determine if the user is having a heart attack, for example, and can call medical services, but there’s more to it than that.
And then there’s the ethical side of things.
What do you guys think about Ford’s repo plans for future EVs? Is it revolutionary or rogue?
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