Ford has applied for a patent in the U.S. that would give vehicles the ability to repossess themselves, including the potential capability to self-drive directly to a repossession agency.
The patent, entitled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle,” was published on Feb. 23.
The 14-page document goes into detail about the methods and reasoning for automated repossession, including the ability for Ford to disable one or more components of a vehicle — everything from its engine to its lock mechanisms or entertainment system.
In the patent, Ford claims vehicle owners notified of repossession “may attempt to impede the repossession operation.”
How Can Your Vehicle Get Repossessed
A vehicle can get repossessed when the borrower defaults on their car loan payments. When a borrower falls behind on their payments, the lender has the legal right to take possession of the vehicle and sell it to recover the outstanding debt. In most cases, the lender will send a notice of default or a notice of repossession before taking any action. If the borrower fails to make the necessary arrangements to bring their payments up to date, the lender may then send a repossession agent to take the vehicle.
The agent may tow the vehicle or use other means to take possession of it, and the borrower may be responsible for any costs associated with the repossession. Once the vehicle is repossessed, the lender may sell it at an auction to recover the outstanding debt, and the borrower may still be liable for any remaining balance after the sale.
According to Ford, owners who face repossession would receive multiple notifications and alerts before an automatic repossession was put into place. The usage of a “incessant and disagreeable sound” that may sound “every time the owner is present in the vehicle” is one such alert concept that is referenced in the patent.
An owner might likewise lock themselves out of their car, as stated in the patent, but only on the weekends. Ford cites the scenario of someone having a heart attack to illustrate how emergency use would still be allowed.