This is intended to make it easier for Banks to recover the vehicle in case the owner stops paying for it.
The vehicles could drive themselves to the impound lot without the owner knowing.
Many other measures are included to make the owner’s life more difficult if they don’t pay on time.
Ford applied for a patent on a system that could help banks recover their investment in case drivers stop paying for their vehicles.
The technology described in this patent which was applied for back in 2021 but only published this month is designed to work with both autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles as long as they can receive over-the-air updates.
Since car payments are constantly rising, banks are worried that more and more car buyers are going to default on their loans or stop paying for their vehicles in the coming years.
Traditionally, these situations were dealt with by the bank paying a towing company who would then pick the car up at the owner’s house or place of work, which often created confrontations and resulted in damage.
In order to simplify the process, the patent applied for by Ford intends to have semi-autonomous vehicles drive themselves away from the owner’s premises and to a public location such as a parking lot or the side of a road before a tow truck can reach it.
In the case of fully autonomous vehicles, the plan is to have them drive themselves directly to the repossession agency or the impound lot.
Ford even planned for the future by making sure the vehicles can drive to a junkyard if the bank determines they are not worth repossessing due to their age and mileage.
Of course, the vehicles won’t simply drive off without warning and this scenario is only reserved for extreme cases where owners refuse to pay for a long time.
In order to remind drivers to keep up with their payments, many other measures are highlighted in the patent, such as playing an irritating noise as long as the owner is inside the car, preventing the use of the infotainment system, cruise control, the electric seat adjusters, the power windows, the electric door locks, and even the air conditioning system.
The last stage before the vehicle repossesses itself would be for the doors to remain locked in order to prevent anyone from entering the vehicle and continuing to use it without paying. This measure could apply only to weekends in order to allow owners to continue going to work.
Ford’s patent says that in case of an emergency, locked vehicles could be useable in order to allow someone having a heart attack to reach a hospital, for example. The details are not exactly clear on how the system would know when an emergency is in progress, but it says the vehicle’s interior cameras could be used to make sure the emergency is legitimate.
Ford is currently the only automaker to have patented such a system but Tesla has talked about a similar feature that could be included in its Full Self-Driving system and rumours about the company remotely unlocking and repositioning cars through the summon feature in order to help tow truck drivers make repossessions have made the rounds before.
Source: The Drive