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Ford seeks to remotely repossess cars after missed payments in US patent

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Behind on your car payments? Your car could soon be driving itself to the pound. Ford Motor Company has applied for a patent that would enable a computer to disable a vehicle or component of a vehicle over delinquent car payments and could lead to cars self-driving themselves to repossession lots.The patent application published last month claims to seek a solution to car owners being unwilling to have their vehicles repossessed by remotely disabling the vehicle or a component of the vehicle if a delinquency notice isn’t acknowledged over a certain period of time.“When an acknowledgement is not received within a reasonable period of time, the first computer may disable a functionality (radio, air-conditioner, etc) or may place the vehicle in a lockout condition,” states the patent application published in February as part of a public review of the patent process.The patent describes a repossession system computer configured to communicate with the vehicle computer and/or smartphone of the driver and lists various optional components of the vehicle it could be connected to, such as cruise control, automated window controls, seat controls, radio and GPS, door locking system, and air conditioning.“Disabling such components may cause an additional level of discomfort to a driver and occupants of the vehicle,” stated the patent application.

The application is still pending approval and could be installed on any future vehicle in Ford’s lineup with a data connection.The application cites various possible scenarios for the repossession computer to use, including “configuring the audio component to emit an incessant and unpleasant sound every time the owner is present in the vehicle” and “placing the vehicle in a lockout

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