As if things in the economy were not bad enough for the average American family, now Ford has submitted a patent application for a self-driving vehicle that would repossess itself if the owner misses car payments.
This patent was initially filed two years ago, but it was published last week by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It involves a series of computer interactions that would initiate a “multi-step repossession procedure” in the case of delinquency on payments.
Banks would send owners or leaseholders several warnings about missed payments before the vehicle is eventually locked or made to cooperate with repossession processes initiated by the financial institutions.
“When an acknowledgment is not received within a reasonable period of time, the first computer may disable a functionality of a component of the vehicle or may place the vehicle in a lockout condition,” the patent application said.
If there are missed payments, the technology could also begin to deactivate vehicle features such as the air conditioning system, remote key fobs, and automated locks.
This would be used to create an additional level of discomfort for the driver and occupants of the vehicle.
The technology could alternatively activate chimes, beepers, or radios to “emit an incessant and unpleasant sound every time the owner is present in the vehicle.”
If the owner doesn’t act on these actions, it could result in the vehicle calling for a tow truck company and even moving itself to a more convenient place for the tow truck operators.
A vehicle could also call the police if the driver attempts to “foil a repossession procedure” and block the vehicle’s path.
The number of debtors delinquent by more than 60 days increased 26.7% year-over-year as of December 2022.
Approximately 1.84% of loans were severely delinquent, marking the highest rate since the aftermath of the financial crisis.