Automaker Ford filed a patent application for technology that would allow semi and fully autonomous vehicles to repossess themselves if the owner misses loan or lease payments.
The patent is titled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle.” It states that future Ford vehicles would be able to disable “a functionality of one or more components of the vehicle.”
If a driver misses a payment, functions like cruise control, radio, air conditioning, and GPS would be disabled to irritate the driver.
Missing more payments worsens the repossession cycle. The vehicle would produce an “incessant and unpleasant sound” and if the driver still does not pay, they would be locked out of their vehicle.
If being locked out does not force the driver to pay, the vehicle could drive itself to a safe and nearby location where a team would repossess the vehicle without confronting the driver.
The patent application was filed in August 2021 and published in February. However, it could be years before the technology is implemented. Additionally, filing a patent does not necessarily guarantee that the technology will be implemented.