Ford patents self-driving car that will repossess itself if the owner doesn’t keep track of payments – and drive it back to the showroom or junkyard
Ford isn’t taking any chances with owners missing car payments — the company is working on a system that prompts the vehicle to take itself back.
A newly granted patent describes a car that drives itself back to the showroom or scrap yard if the owner doesn’t answer messages about his overdue bill.
The US carmaker would start the process by disabling “comfort features”, playing sounds in the car and restricting where the vehicle is allowed to drive.
If all else fails, Ford activates the self-driving feature and the owner has no choice but to give up the car.
While patent filings don’t always turn into real-world services, Ford describes using a “seizure computer” that can be installed to take control of functions.
Ford has received a new patent for a system that could be installed in future cars. The system would turn cars into self-driving vehicles, which would drive back to the showroom if the owner misses a payment
The patent was filed with the United States Patent Office in August 2021 and awarded to Ford on February 23.
It describes how Ford is trying a non-intrusive method of notifying the owner of its overdue account by sending a message to the car or a smartphone.
If these messages are ignored, Ford will turn up the heat by turning off features like music and air conditioning, hoping the owner will feel uncomfortable and make payments.
The next step is to play annoying sounds, such as buzzing or buzzing, in the car when the driver is behind the wheel, which will play until the vehicle is turned off.
The next step in Ford’s master plan would be to restrict access to the car on certain days or times.
The patent also notes that the system could render the car useless on weekends, but would allow the driver to commute to work in an effort not to hinder the individual’s ability to make payments.
And the last step is to let the vehicle take itself back.
According to the patent, if the car has a high mileage, it would drive itself to the scrap yard to be recycled.
The US automaker would start the process by turning off “comfort features,” playing sounds in the car and restricting where the vehicle can drive (stock photo)
While the progression plan may seem outrageous to some, the patent authors note that owners who fail to pay payments are often argumentative when contacted.
“It is desirable to provide a solution to address this issue,” Ford engineers wrote in the document.
President of International Recovery Systems, Jeremy Cross said NBC in December: “For the last two years car prices had been inflated because there was no new car stock, people were still buying like crazy because they had a lot of cash to stay at home, they had high credit scores so it was like a recipe for disaster .’
The same report says the repossession fell at the onset of COVID as Americans began receiving stimulus checks and money from more empathetic lenders.
This all changed by the end of 2022 – people started drowning in debt and many fell behind on car payments.
NBC reported that the average monthly payment for a new car has increased 26 percent since 2019 to $718 per month.
And nearly one in six new car buyers spend more than $1,000 a month on vehicles.
Ivan Drury, director of insights at car buying website Edmunds, told NBC, “These repossessions are happening to people who two years ago could afford that $500 or $600 a month, but now everything else in their life is more expensive.”