Published on March 1st, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


Ford Has A Patent For A Dystopian Repossession Technology

A Ford patent from 2021 shows a high tech repossession feature that has yet to be announced.

Vehicle repossession can be an ugly thing. Hard times come for all of us, even the most financially prepared. The pandemic was proof of that. And during that pandemic, Ford Motor Company was hard at work on technology that would ensure that customers who missed payments would not go unpunished.

repossession tow truck

In fairness, missed payments are a real problem in the automotive industry. There are many customers out there who are deliberately delinquent with their auto financing, preferring to lock their cars away in secret garages and dodge the repo man when he comes. There are also loads of people who continue the illegal practice of ‘sambung bayar‘ and this can leave banks and institutions at a disadvantage. Ford’s patent is a little creepy, but it does provide a technical solution to a real problem faced by financial institutions around the world.

Ford Repossession REPO patent diagram

The patent, titled “Systems and Methods to Repossess a Vehicle” is 14 pages long and contains diagrams and descriptive scenarios of how the system would work. As you may know, vehicles today are just as tech-filled as your computer, perhaps even more so given there are usually multiple processing chips running various computer systems onboard. On Ford’s Repoman system, these computer systems would be used to lock down a vehicle and prevent its use.

What’s more, if the vehicle features autonomous driving abilities, the financial agency that has a lien on the car can remotely have the car disable itself, preventing the owner from using it further. It can also have the vehicles drive itself to a repo lot or drive itself to an easier towing location, should self-driving be available in the future. And if the vehicle is deemed to not be worth repossession, the financial agency could even have it drive itself to a scrapyard. How eerie is that?!


Of course, this is just a patent. Car companies spend hundreds of millions in research and development every year just to be the first to have legal ownership of ideas that never go into action. This patent was submitted 2 years ago and it’s likely just there so that Ford execs don’t say “Why didn’t we think of that?” when someone else patents it. This piece of news was originally reported on by The Drive.

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