The Drive reports Ford filed a patent for cars that can repossess themselves if their driver misses too many payments. The filing comes as car prices are through the roof, and missed payments are at a nearly two-decade high. The Ford patent filing details a system that enables vehicles to drive off to a spot more convenient for repossession. Here’s everything you need to know about the future of self-repossessing vehicles.
Ford filed the patent for self-repoing cars in 2021.
According to Car and Driver, the patent details a system that can limit a vehicle’s functions before self-repoing. The system uses self-driving technology to allow fully autonomous cars to drive off to a repo lot. Conversely, vehicles with only semi-autonomous capabilities will go a short distance and wait for a tow truck.
Although, drivers with delinquent payments will supposedly receive ample warning before they wake up to no car. The patent also takes note of considerations such as hospitalizations or if the owner is out of the country. And before the vehicle drives itself off, it disables essential functions such as power windows and air conditioning. It also “may disable the door lock mechanism,” effectively locking drivers out of their vehicles until they make payment.
Does this mean a future where cars can drive themselves off after a few missed payments?
Although it is possible, especially as self-driving car capabilities have become more common, it’s a potential plan for now. As Gizmodo reports, vehicle manufacturers often file patents that never make it into production.
“We submit patents on new inventions as a normal course of business,” said Ford spokesperson Wes Sherwood to Gizmodo. “[B]ut they aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans.”
At publication, Nevada is the only state to approve level-3 fully autonomous vehicles on the open road. And it’s for a Mercedes model that still requires drivers to remain alert. Not even Teslas, famous for self-driving capabilities, are technically fully autonomous. So even if Ford implements these features, it’ll be quite some time before it hits consumer products.