Here’s How Self-Driving Ford Vehicles May Repossess Themselves Over Missed Payments Someday

Have you ever felt like your car or truck has a mind of its own? This may not be just a figment of your imagination for a long time. A recent patent reveals that it plans to knock a Mustang or F-150 to stage an insurrection if you. This can include your air conditioner randomly shutting off, making a “thumping and unpleasant sound” whenever you put it in, and even going back to the dealership or bank.

Will Ford cars of the future be able to regain ownership?

Ford hasn’t confirmed if its vehicles will one day have the ability to lock you up or drive you to a buyback or dealership if you miss a payment. But it certainly explores the possibility. We know this because of the recently published patent document that was originally filed in 2021. The patent is titled “Vehicle Repossession Systems and Methods.”

The driver assistance system can remove itself “from the owner’s quarters” and to another location “that is more convenient for a tow truck to tow the vehicle.”

Future Fords, with Blue Cruise’s more advanced self-driving systems, could take this even further. An F-150 that can legally operate on public roads without the assistance of a human driver can drive itself to the “Repossession Agency Headquarters.”

The automaker is looking into adding a Recovery Computer to future vehicles. If you miss payments, this computer will activate and hijack the other car or truck’s systems. But the patent also explores ways that vehicles that don’t have a dedicated recovery computer, including existing vehicles, can have some of these same capabilities.

Ford may modify existing vehicles to lock you out if you miss a payment

The possible systems and methods described in the Ford patent go beyond vehicle repossession. This is because First Class seems to aim to make driving your Ford so frustrating that you volunteer to make your late payments. some are comical; Others can be downright dangerous.

Ford F-150 with BlueCruise | Ford Motor Company

First, your Ford will warn you that you’ve fallen behind on your payments. Presumably, it’ll use the infotainment system to do so, but it’ll probably have an audible message, too. If you ignore this warning, your Ford may begin to turn off unnecessary systems: “cruise controls, power window controls, automatic seat controls, and some components of the infotainment system (radio, GPS, player MP3, etc.).”)

Ford engineers took the time to identify the second level of shutdowns your vehicle might experience. If you continue to fail to make your payments, you may lose your “air conditioning system, remote control key fob, and automated door lock/unlock system.”

This level is when your car or truck might hit you with that “continuous, unpleasant sound.” how often? Ford thinks, “Every time the owner is in the car.”

Obviously, it would be illegal for Ford to allow the F-150 or any other vehicle to continue operating while NHTSA-mandated equipment, such as a backup camera and defrost, is disabled. I’m not entirely sure if driving while your car agonizes over you to make up your payments counts as distracted driving, but this could be an issue that future legislators need to address.

Existing Ford vehicles may also start locking you out if you miss payments

The next level, available even in non-self-driving cars, is simply that the car. Ford even explored locking the car on weekends while allowing the owner to continue driving it on weekdays. Presumably, so they can still go to work to earn money and make their payments.

Promotional image of driver and passenger taking their hands off the wheel in an eMustang with BlueCruise.
Ford Mustang Mach-E with BlueCruise | Ford Motor Company

These first several levels do not require the Ford vehicle to have a self-driving system. In fact, Ford’s patent states that the car only needs an internet connection. So any existing vehicle that gets software updates over the air can be re-equipped with the rollback system.

We’ll just have to wait and see what features Ford puts into production — or future software updates for existing cars.

Next, read about essential services or watch News Nation check out Ford’s self-recovery patent in the video below:

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