(CarScoops) As of November 2022, auto loans that were 60 days delinquent or more rose to over 1.6 percent. On top of that, repossessions are rising too and now Ford thinks it might have a future stopgap. What if the car could repossess itself?
That ability is at the heart of a new patent finally granted to Ford after its initial filing in August of 2021. And yes, it involves the car itself being able to literally drive back to a lender, the dealer, or somewhere else. There’s a lot more that a car equipped with such software could do to obtain payment from the owner too.
Dubbed “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle,” the patent describes a number of increasingly unpleasant measures to remind the driver to pay up. First, it’ll send the driver a message regarding payment. If they don’t acknowledge that message “within a reasonable period of time” the vehicle might disable features like the radio or the air conditioning.
Of course, if the owner fails to pay up after that the measures get more extreme. At some point, the system could even disable the engine. And yes, there’s a specific provision in the patent where the car could drive itself back to the loan provider. In fact, Ford says that it could also drive to the scrap yard if the condition and value are too low to warrant actually repossessing it for resale.
First spotted by TheDrive, the system goes so far as to allow the entity that’s trying to repossess the car to access cameras on the car to see if it’s parked in a garage “in order to foil a repossession.” At the same time, there are some safety measures built in like the ability for an otherwise disabled car to be used in case of emergency.