According to the Ford patent application for repossession-linked technology, Ford could shut off your AC if you miss a car payment.
Ford Motor Co. has filed for a patent on technology that could remotely shut down your radio or air conditioning, lock you out of your vehicle, or prompt it to ceaselessly beep if you miss car payments. Ford said it has no plans to use the technology, contained in just one of the many patents filed by the auto-making giant.
Still, it emerges at a troubling time for car owners. Loan delinquencies have been steadily ticking back up from their pandemic lull. Cox Automotive data showed severely delinquent auto loans in January hitting their highest point since 2006. The use of technology to aid repossessions isn’t new, but the patent application is wide-ranging, even proposing the idea that an autonomous vehicle could drive itself to a “more convenient” location to be collected by a tow truck.
“It really seems like you’re opening up a can of worms that, as a manufacturer, you don’t really need to be doing,” said John Van Alst, a senior attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.
According to the Ford patent application for repossession-linked technology, cruise control and automated windows could be disabled if a consumer doesn’t acknowledge a notice of an overdue car payment. Ford could also shut down key fobs, and door locks — even the accelerator or the engine itself.
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In a strategy update event focused on software held in California, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a Google partnership to include supercomputers in its cars.
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