Ford data files patent to disable automobile functions for missed payments


What is that aggravating beeping in your automobile? You could have missed a payment.

Ford Motor Co. has filed for a patent on technologies that could remotely shut down your radio or air conditioning, lock you out of your motor vehicle, or prompt it to ceaselessly beep if you pass up car payments. Ford stated it has no plans to use the technologies, contained in just 1 of the quite a few patents filed by the auto-earning giant.

However, it emerges at a troubling time for auto proprietors. Bank loan delinquencies have been steadily ticking back up from their pandemic lull. Cox Automotive information showed severely delinquent automobile financial loans in January hitting their maximum point since 2006. The use of technological innovation to aid repossessions is not new, but the patent software is broad-ranging, even proposing the idea that an autonomous auto could push itself to a “more convenient” location to be gathered by a tow truck. 

“It truly would seem like you’re opening up a can of worms that, as a company, you never really require to be accomplishing,” stated John Van Alst, a senior attorney with the Countrywide Consumer Legislation Heart. 

Read far more: Vehicle Credit card debt Piling Up With Far more Buyers $10,000 Underwater on Financial loans

In accordance to the Ford patent software for repossession-joined know-how, cruise control and automated windows could be disabled if a client doesn’t admit a detect of an overdue auto payment. Ford could also shut down essential fobs, door locks — even the accelerator or the motor alone.

“Disabling this kind of components may possibly lead to an more stage of distress to a driver and occupants of the motor vehicle,” the patent software states.

Wes Sherwood, a spokesman for the Dearborn, Michigan-primarily based automaker, claimed Ford has “no strategy to deploy this.” Ford was granted a lot more than 1,300 patents in 2022 as aspect of “encouraging a tradition of innovation,” the automaker mentioned in an electronic mail.

“We post patents on new innovations as a normal course of company, but they aren’t always an indication of new business or solution programs,” Ford stated in the statement.

The patent is concerning due to the fact by developing this technologies, loan providers with considerably less-than-stellar reputations for repossessions could probably consider benefit of it, NCLC’s Van Alst explained.

“You’ve now developed this system which is like the doomsday device in Dr. Strangelove,” he explained.

And what about the beeping audio? Auto house owners would be not able to shut off the sounds without 1st speaking to their auto loan provider about a delinquency, the patent application exhibits.

Ford termed the sound “incessant and disagreeable.”

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