In The (Near) Future, Your Car Might Repossess Itself

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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Some Ford owners who miss loan payments could find their self-driving vehicles driving themselves to the repossession lot, according to a patent published in February.

The pending patent, filed by Ford Global Technologies on August 20, 2021 and formally published last month, describes “systems and methods to repossess a vehicle,” the patent application states. (RELATED: Hate To Say I Told You So: Self-Driving Cars Are MINDLESS MURDERERS)

Ford owners failing to acknowledge auto-generated messages regarding delinquent loan payments could face a “lockout condition” on their vehicle, the application details. Certain functions, including air conditioning and radio could also be disabled if “acknowledgement is not received within a reasonable period of time.”

Should an owner ignore all notices, a repossession agency or financial institution could “cooperate with the vehicle computer to autonomously move the vehicle from the premises of the owner to a location such as, for example, the premises of the repossession agency,” according to the patent application.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 09: A self-driving delivery vehicle is on display at the Ford booth during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 12 and features about 3,900 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 170,000 attendees. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Self-driving vehicles not worth the cost of repossession may alternatively head to the junkyard. The application further detailed numerous scenarios for repossession, including cars parked in garages and exceptions for lockout conditions made in medical emergencies.

The automaker currently has no plans to act on its futuristic vision, a Ford Motor Co. representative told NPR. “We submit patents on new inventions as a normal course of business but they aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans,” Ford spokesperson Wes Sherwood said.

Meanwhile, the number of auto repossessions continues to climb, according to Bloomberg. “[M]ore Americans are falling behind on their car payments than during the financial crisis,” the outlet noted.