Ford Connected-Car Future Is Patented
There are many promises for a better future that come along with the electric and digital revolution of the auto industry. By the use of electric vehicles, connected automobiles, over-the-air software updates, autonomous vehicles, and reduced maintenance costs, we may be able to considerably reduce the number of carbon emissions produced by the transportation industry.
Yet it’s important to keep in mind that automobile manufacturers ultimately want to earn a profit, not improve the world.
Last week, it came to light that Ford had submitted a patent application for a system that would make greater use of connected car technologies to facilitate vehicle repossession. The Drive, a newspaper where I formerly served as editorial director, broke the news of the patent’s release this week. The patent covers a number of methods around repossessing automobiles when payments are past due.
One particularly terrifying example is allowing an autonomous car to simply drive itself to an impound lot—or a junkyard if the car’s market value is found to be below a certain threshold. Other examples include sending messages to the owner’s smartphone or the vehicle itself, locking drivers out completely, disabling features like air conditioning, and geofencing drivers to only operate within a certain time or set area so they can still get to work.
Someone at Ford gave all of this a lot of thinking.
The patent paper outlines many strategies for remotely and electronically revolutionizing the whole repossession procedure, including direct communication with law enforcement and financial institutions.
Although if that procedure is much more archaic now, it is nonetheless notoriously exploitative and unregulated. Even a few weeks of late payments can trigger a repossession in areas like California and New York, and lenders aren’t even obligated to give drivers any notice.
Depending on their place of residence and the terms of their loan arrangement, an owner’s rights in this scenario may vary.
Depending on the terms of their loan arrangement, automobile owners may be able to restore their debts by bringing the sum current, albeit this privilege differs from state to state. If they are unable to retrieve their vehicle, it may be quickly sold at auction.
Electronic transponders are increasingly being used in vehicles bought with subprime loans in recent years. Because of these gadgets, purchasers with low incomes or poor credit run the danger of having their cars remotely deactivated if they fall behind on payments.
Ford’s patent, on the other hand, develops a number of situations where connected vehicle data and autonomy may be utilized to quickly recover vehicles if owners make a mistake.
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