A Ford Patent Application Could Allow Vehicles to Lockout Owners Who Are Delinquent with Their Car Payments

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Image: Ford

A Ford patent application that was submitted in 2021 has recently been published and it shows a new means of enforcing car payments. Forget worrying about the safety of self-driving features, owners of future vehicles may need to rethink their options if falling behind on monthly payments or else risk becoming locked out of their car or truck, or worse. The Register has reported on a Ford patent application that outlines a number of remote control options the automaker is looking at in various scenarios.

The application’s first section begins with a description of “Systems and methods to repossess a vehicle” in which the details of the first paragraph explain how a delinquent owner can impede efforts, and potentially be confrontational with a vehicle being repossessed so it is “desirable to provide a solution to address the issue“. Multiple methods including but limited to, sending the owner messages via the vehicle onboard computer about their delinquent status and potential repossession process, to alerts about the vehicle being locked down could happen. Another idea being tossed around is to just lock the vehicle down on weekends so that an owner (who might be lucky enough to have a Monday-Friday job) would not have their employment jeopardized. Other options on the table include limiting the vehicle’s range or having it make various sounds, horn beeping, chimes, etc, to annoy the vehicle owner or locking various functions like power windows, radio, air conditioning, etc, via tier levels.

Ford is also looking at ways for controlling autonomous vehicles via the same technology to park them or have them go to a location for repossession via control from a tow truck. It could even access a vehicle’s cameras to identify potential challenges (garage, fencing) to repossess the vehicle and advise involved parties of their options in getting the vehicle (starting to sound a bit like watching K.I.T.T. break out of an impound lot here).

The 14-page document is somewhat technical, and obvious that Ford’s engineers and legal teams have worked with reposesssion entities on it. The patent also provides a contingency for emergency vehicles to provide aid by a temporary unlock code being sent to the vehicle in the event the driver or passenger(s) are in need of assistance.

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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