Ford seeks remote repossession of cars after missed payments in US patent | Ford

Late on your car payments? Your car could soon be driving to the pound. Ford Motor Company has applied for a patent that would allow a computer to disable a vehicle or component of a vehicle due to overdue car payments and could cause cars to drive themselves to repossessed lots.

The patent application published last month claims to seek a solution for car owners who do not wish to repossess their vehicles by remotely disabling the vehicle or a vehicle component if a delinquency notice is not recognized on a certain period of time.

“When an acknowledgment is not received within a reasonable time, the first computer can deactivate a functionality (radio, air conditioning, etc.) or put the vehicle in a state of lockout,” says the patent application published in February. as part of a public review of the patent process.

The patent describes a repossession system computer configured to communicate with the vehicle’s computer and/or the driver’s smartphone and lists various optional vehicle components to which it could be connected, such as cruise control, automated window, seat controls, radio and GPS. , door locking system and air conditioning.

“Disabling these components may result in an additional level of discomfort for the driver and vehicle occupants,” the patent application states. The request is still pending approval and could be installed on any future vehicle in the Ford range with a data connection.

The app cites various possible scenarios for the trade-in computer to use, including “configuring the audio component to emit an incessant, unpleasant sound whenever the owner is present in the vehicle” and “placing the vehicle in a state of lockdown”. The patent cites a vehicle camera that can be used to determine if there is an emergency to unlock the car and the computer can be used to alert the police with GPS location if an owner attempts to block the effort to repossession.

Car seizures in the United States have been on the rise since the falls at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. In May 2021, the number of subprime borrowers, people with below-average credit scores who were at least 60 days behind on their car payments, hit a seven-year low of 2.58%, but had risen to 5.67% in December 2022.

Between July 2020 and July 2022, the prices of new cars increase around 20% and used car prices have risen around 40% over the same period.

A spokesperson for Ford said in an email: ‘We have no plans to roll this out. We submit patents on new inventions in the normal course of our business, but they are not necessarily indicative of new business plans or products. We were awarded 1,342 patents last year (more than three a day), covering a wide range of ideas.

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