With the power of artificial intelligence, soon your Ford self-driving car will be able to repossess itself! A new patent from the iconic automotive company aims for future Ford cars to drive themselves to dealerships or junkyards if you can’t pay on time.
Filed in August 2021, the company’s “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle” patent aims to make bank repossession of vehicles easier, and the lives of average customers harder.
Firstly, the patent aims at introducing ways of disabling certain features or access if payments are not made on time. While annoying, this type of system has been seen with subscription-based GPS systems and other types of software. However, future Ford cars will use this to completely disable vehicles.
For self-driving capable vehicles, Ford aims to allow cars to take themselves to tow trucks if a user misses a payment date. Cars parked outside will literally drive to a pickup point to be taken by a tow truck. If the car is deemed unworthy of repossession, it will drive itself to a junkyard.
“[The system can] move the vehicle from a first spot to a second spot that is more convenient for a tow truck to tow the vehicle,” the patent reads. “[As well as] move the vehicle from the premises of the owner to a location such as, for example, the premises of the repossession agency.”
The patent reveals that Ford aims to have this system introduced as a software function on advanced machines. However, for cars that offer a more traditional, screenless experience, a “repossession computer” may be installed to introduce these features.
If introduced, the Ford AI systems will steadily disable systems one-at-a-time as payments are missed. Continued missed payments will result in the cars repossessing themselves. The patent even claims that an “incessant and unpleasant sound" may play anytime an unpaid user is inside the vehicle.
There are currently no announcements for any upcoming vehicles to use this Ford AI system. In the best case scenario, this patent could just be used to stop other car companies from using the idea. However, in a market where users must pay extra to enable their built-in heated seats, it’s likely already in active development.