Fall behind on your payments, and your car could simply drive itself away.
In the future, if you ever fall behind on your payments for your ridiculously overpriced car, it may not be the repo men that come a-knocking. Instead, your set of wheels may simply drive itself back to the dealership.
And yes, believe it or not, that's the gist of an actual patent filed by Ford, first spotted by our colleagues at The Drive. Initially submitted in 2021, the patent, titled "Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle," was published last week by the US Patent Office.
While not approved yet, the system described in the patent is about as deranged as it sounds. Ford envisions it being capable of outright disabling different functions in your vehicle, dispensed as increasing tiers of forewarning punishment.
First, it could nix your power windows and lock you out of parts of your infotainment system. If that still doesn't get your attention, you'll next lose your air conditioning and the ability to automatically lock and unlock doors.
That's only the tip of how obnoxious it can get, though. Ford could make your car blare an "incessant and unpleasant sound" every time you enter it, and eventually, lock you out entirely.
Don't worry: all that's just the prelude to the coup de grâce.
If your car has autonomous driving capabilities, Ford's system could drive your car away to a different location without even informing you, to avoid confronting the repo men.
But it could even do away with the repo men entirely, and drive itself directly to the repo agency or any other predetermined location.
And for some true humiliation, the car could even drive straight to the junkyard to be scrapped, if the repossessing entity thinks it'd cost more to repo than what they could sell it for. Jerks.
Does Ford actually intend on following through with the patent? Who knows. In fact, Ford itself probably doesn't even know — it's no longer even pursuing self-driving technology at the moment.
Big companies — tech ones, especially — like to file weird, zany, and often dystopian patents all the time for a host of inscrutable reasons that roughly equate to locking down potentially monetizable concepts.
So a car repoing itself might be a stretch, but disabling different functions of your car as punishment? Pretty feasible. After all, some automakers already offer subscription based features that go offline if you don't pay up.
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