Ford, the famous manufacturer of automobiles, was recently granted a patent for a working system that would enable a vehicle to take control over itself if the owner fails to complete the payment. The firm has envisioned that the car could go back to its showroom- or even the scrapyard- if the car wasn’t that expensive. But an expert in vehicular safety has warned the company that this could also be used to steal cars remotely.
The patent, for those wondering, was filed all the way back in 2021 but was accepted just the previous week. It elaborately describes how the system would come into operation if the car’s owner failed to respond to messages from the dealership to pay their installments. Interestingly, a series of measures have been set up, which would probably make it impossible for the car to be driven by the owner. As a last resort, the car would return itself to the dealership.
Ford’s new system could kick off by disabling routine car features like the music system, GPS navigation, or even the air conditioning. This leaves a certain level of discomfort that the owner would experience. If this doesn’t convince the owner to pay for the car, the vehicle would then start producing incessant and unpleasant sounds that could either be a beep or a chime every time the owner tries to sit inside. After that, the next step would be to limit the owner’s access to the car at certain intervals.
Ford Car Will Drive Itself Back If You Don’t Complete Your Payments
This could imply making the vehicle completely unusable during leisure weekends. As it turns out, this special feature will not be disbanded during the weekdays- for it would allow the owner to go to work to earn money to pay for the installments. The patent has also suggested that the GPS might be used to create a Geofence around areas where the car will be rendered unusable.
If the above features fail to make the owner pay for the Ford, the car could then be instructed to drive off to a location where a tow truck would carry it. It could also be asked to drive all the way back to a repossession storage area. If the car’s mileage is considerably high, and the condition has been rendered poor, then the vehicle would be instructed to rush itself to a scrapyard where it will be recycled. Needless to say, such a feature would entail the car being completely autonomous, which has been quite a dream for car manufacturers over the last decade. In fact, it is no more possible to buy a completely self-driving car now- as it was 15 years ago.
This Patent Could Also Be Hacked Into And Used To Steal Cars
Ford didn’t grant any media interviews regarding this patent, but Alan Woodward, a security expert at the University of Surrey, UK, stated, “It’ll be a brave vehicle manufacturer that builds this into their vehicle as standard. I can imagine a car thief not just finding an unauthorized way into the system, but also socially engineering ‘authorized’ users to give them access.” Also, the very nature of the patent involves the company having quite a considerable hold over our private lives. The Patent Office in the country recently published the application form of the company- around 1.5 years after it had been filed in the first place. The patent was titled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle.”
The official statement from Ford also mentioned that the lockout condition of the car would be enforced variably- which implies that it would allow people to access their cars during any medical emergency. The company wrote, “Allowing the use of the vehicle during weekdays avoids adversely affecting the livelihood of the owner of the vehicle and hampering the owner’s ability to make payments.” Just to clear it up for those who have been scratching their heads in confusion, the car manufacturing company in the USA has put out a patent for a car that would cut off your conditioning, and your music, produce terrible sounds, lock you out, and if you are still unable to pay your installments due to unforeseen circumstances, it will drive itself to a scrapyard.
Ford’s Intention Is Clear For A While
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that Ford has brought something so absurd as a patent. In a filing made in 2018, the company went on to create a proposal for an independent police car that will be using AI to hide and catch traffic law defaulters. The automaker has also created a patent for windshields in the future where people will not have to look at the road ahead of them. If that doesn’t sound ridiculous to you, the company has also filed patents for machines that would bring billboards inside your vehicle, and vehicles themselves with detachable motorcycles.
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- “Ford patents car that can repossess itself and drive back to showroom.” New Scientist. Matthew Sparkes. February 28, 2023.
- “Ford Tries to Patent a Dystopian Future Where Self-Driving Cars Repo Themselves.” Gizmodo.
Lauren Leffer. February 28, 2023.