Ford Stops Pursuing Patent Allowing Cars To Repossess Themselves

Ford had an idea that would allow a car to repossess itself and drive back to a specific location if the buyer missed payments. Now, it appears that the Blue Oval has abandoned that patent. Nevertheless, this sort of technology might not stay gone for good.

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Documents uncovered in February of 2023 show that Ford filed for this patent back in August of 2021. The Blue Oval called it “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle” and it was full of measures designed to incentivize buyers to pay their bills. Initially, it would simply remind the buyer that their payment is due or overdue. Should a buyer fail to acknowledge that the car could disable features like the radio or climate control.

In its most extreme version, a semi-autonomous car could literally drive itself back to the loan provider, or to a scrap yard if the condition and value were deemed too low. Now, it appears that the automaker has abandoned the patent for the time being.

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 Ford Stops Pursuing Patent Allowing Cars To Repossess Themselves

According to TheDrive, the US Patent and Trademark Office now lists the patent as “abandoned” after “failure to respond to an Office Action” on October 20th, 2023. What exactly Office Action was orwas or why Ford failed to respond is unknown for the time being.

It’s certainly plausible that the automaker simply decided to move on from the technology in the short or long term. Autonomous driving technology has a number of major challenges and the public reaction to the patent wasn’t amazing either.

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At the same time, it’s a bit surprising that in this new age of connected cars that it’s not at least pursuing some of the measures mentioned in the filing. It’s quite clear that automakers are gaining a lot more power over their creations after the sale these days. Having the ability to remotely penalize drivers for missing their payments could still very well be on the horizon.

Even if automakers themselves don’t ever pursue the tech it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see dealers do exactly that. It’s no secret that some dealers today install GPS tracking software on cars to ensure that they know where to go get them should a buyer not keep up with payments. 

 Ford Stops Pursuing Patent Allowing Cars To Repossess Themselves

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