Ford’s grim repo patent

The US Patent Office last week published an application for a patent by Ford innocuously titled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle”, which comes straight out of a dystopian sci-fi movie.

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The application entails systems in terms of which vehicles, for all practical purposes, would be able to repossess themselves should their owners renege on payments.

According to the document, vehicles’ built-in data connections could be used to disable “a functionality of one or more components of the vehicle” in case of missed payments. This could take different forms from deactivating features like “cruise control, automated window controls, automated seat controls and some components of the infotainment system (radio Global Positioning System (GPS), MP3 player, etc)” to functions such as “the air-conditioning system, a remote key fob and an automated door lock/unlock system” and other incessant irritating warnings.

The most disconcerting feature of the system though, in the case of self-autonomous vehicles, is that with Ford's system, your car could drive itself away to a different location without even informing you.

It is unclear whether Ford is planning to follow through on the patents since it is currently not actively pursuing self-drive technology.

Other auto manufacturers already feature similar technology in their vehicles.

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