Ford Files Patent to Remotely Lock You out of Car If You Miss Payment

Ford may be painting a picture of the future of car ownership with their latest proposed patent application. According to VICE, while it isn't a surprise that cars and trucks you "own" could still be ripped away from you, Ford is looking to patent "systems and methods to repossess a vehicle."

The methodology is common sense with today's cars which are practically computers with wheels. If a car is attached to the internet and brimming with software, there are going to be ways cooked into the manufacturing for the company to maintain some control. Currently, this means proprietary parts or expensive repairs, at least in a general sense. We're not car experts, so don't jump with a fit if something is off.

Something we can all agree on is major companies are doing whatever they can to keep a vice grip on customers. According to VICE, Ford's proposed idea would lay out punishments for car buyers who don't pay their payments. The chances it comes to pass in nightmare form aren't high, but as VICE notes, it still feels possible.

As the outlet shows, the patent describes how the internet operates, the network connected to your car at any given moment, and what can be added to the vehicle within that structure. This runs from what you see with OnStar-activated vehicles, where an operator can contact the police or emergency services. The patent would seem to remove the middleman from the equation, but it's the potential scenarios that perk your ears up.

VICE continues, noting that a lending bank or institution could use an app or infotainment system to bring up your late payments. From there, the car could start having features disabled like the radio, GPS, and other creature comforts most expect with their vehicles.

Those all seem very possible, but it gets worse for some reason. The car could "escalate" to shutting down the air conditioning, automatic locks, or even a goulash of penalties. The car could then make a loud buzz or other noise that would make driving the vehicle unpleasant, all before finally just locking people out of their cars.

This aspect could be set for only weekends or outside of a certain time frame, according to the patent, and would offer a "final warning" before only offering the car on "weekdays" to avoid the person missing their work or "adversely affecting" the livelihood of the vehicle owner. From there, the car could end up helping in its own repossession, possibly even moving the car autonomously to an area where it would be easier to tow.

"If the market value of the vehicle is below the pre-determined threshold price," the application says, via VICE. "The repossession system computer may cooperate with the vehicle computer to autonomously move the vehicle from the premises of the owner to a junkyard."

Luckily Ford responded by noting they are granted "more than 1,300 patents" in 2022 alone and submit them all the time. The company calls this a "normal course of business" and doesn't indicate any potential business plans. That said, if people are thinking about such advancements, what would stop the next evolution?