New Patent Would Enable Ford’s Self-Driving Cars To Repossess Themselves And Harass Drivers

Ford trucks

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Growing up we were all force-fed visions of the future where everyone had autonomous flying cars and robots taking care of menial household chores.

We’re not there yet but society is certainly at the tipping point with self-driving cars poised to explode in popularity. And a newly filed patent from the Ford Motor Company presents a grim look at what the future of self-driving cars might be like.

The new Ford patent was filed in 2021 but just became public after being posted to the US Patent Office’s website, according to Futurism.

The patent is titled ‘Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle’ and it lays out how self-driving vehicles could repossess themselves. If a vehicle owner is found in “delinquency of a vehicle-related payment,” the car could get their attention by sending a message to the infotainment system that had to be acknowledged by the driver.

If that didn’t work, the car could then “disable a functionality of a component of the vehicle” and lock the driver out of various parts of the car. This could potentially mean shutting off power windows, the radio, or GPS.

If THAT didn’t work, Futurism says with this patent “Ford could make your car blare an “incessant and unpleasant sound” every time you enter it, and eventually, lock you out entirely.”

Then, as a last option, the self-driving vehicle could even repossess itself and drive back to the dealership. Thus putting ‘repo men’ out of business entirely.

It remains to be seen of the Ford Motor Company has any intentions at all of actually using this new patent. It is quite possible that they are just filing the patent without any intention to employ it.

But a future where cars have the ability to drive off because the driver missed a payment seems scary. Particularly because of how unreliable technology can be.

As car owners/drivers, what assurances will we be given that hackers won’t be able to access and override this functionality? Or that a short circuit wouldn’t cause a car to bug out?

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Cass Anderson avatar
Cass Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of BroBible. He covers an array of topics including NFL, Pop Culture, Fishing News, and the Outdoors.