Ford wants cars to lock out drivers who are late on car payments

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A newly published patent application from Ford has revealed that the American automaker wants to be able to lock drivers out of their vehicles for nonpayment and even allow the vehicle to repossess itself.

The patent document, obtained by The Drive, was submitted to the United States Patent Office in August of 2021, but was formally published on February 23. The patent, titled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle,” outlines different methods that would be taken if the vehicle owner misses payments.

The application describes the installation of a “repossession system computer,” which would be capable of disabling “a functionality of one or more components of the vehicle,” including the air conditioning, and radio, “incessant and unpleasant sound” may be turned on “every time the owner is present in the vehicle,” or even placing the vehicle in a “lockout condition,” meaning it is unable to be driven unless in the case of an emergency situation like needing to go to the hospital.

The repossession system computer could be “configured to communicate via a network with various entities, such as, for example a computer of the repossession agency, a computer of a police authority, a computer of a medical facility, a computer of a lending institution, and/or a personal communication device of the owner,” the application states.

This computer may also use mounted cameras, like backup cameras, to determine whether the car has been parked inside a closed garage “in order to foil a repossession operation of the vehicle.”