March 28, 2023

A diagram included in Ford’s new patent exhibits varied futuristic methods to grab a automobile.

US Patent and Trademark Workplace

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US Patent and Trademark Workplace

A diagram included in Ford’s new patent exhibits varied futuristic methods to grab a automobile.

US Patent and Trademark Workplace

Think about it is the not too distant future and you’ve got purchased a brand new automobile with autonomous driving. However laborious instances come and also you’re behind in your mortgage funds, after which sooner or later you discover your automobile has been pushed into an impound lot.

It is a imaginative and prescient of a brand new Ford patent printed final month that outlines varied futuristic methods monetary establishments can management Ford’s automobile methods to assist repossess a automobile.

The corporate informed NPR that it doesn’t intend to pursue the concepts of the patent, which is one in all tons of of Ford pending patents printed this yr by the US Patent and Trademark Workplace.

“We haven’t any plans to roll this out,” mentioned Wes Sherwood, a spokesman for Ford. “We file patents for brand new innovations as a part of the conventional course of enterprise, however they aren’t essentially indicative of latest enterprise or product plans.”

As property acquisition ways have modified over time with the arrival of social media and GPS expertise, Ford’s patent exhibits how lenders can use good automobile options to grab autos from bancrupt debtors. This was beforehand reported by the Detroit Free Press.

Of the improvements described within the patent titled “Automobile Restoration Techniques and Strategies,” maybe essentially the most placing is the self-driving automobile.

A monetary establishment or confiscation company could “work together with the car’s laptop to autonomously transfer the car from the proprietor’s premises to a location resembling a confiscation company’s premises” or “a lending establishment’s premises.” says within the patent. The method might be absolutely automated.

The automobile also can name the police, the patent says, or if the lender decides the automobile is not price the price of repossession, the self-driving automobile can dump itself.

Semi-autonomous autos that aren’t as much as the duty of driving lengthy distances might as a substitute journey quick distances—from non-public property (“a storage or driveway, for instance,” because the patent suggests) to the closest location, “i.e. extra handy for a tow truck.”

Among the many varied concepts described within the patent is the gradual shutdown of good automobile options. Lenders can begin by disabling “extra” options of the automobile, resembling cruise management or a media participant, to trigger “a sure degree of discomfort” to the automobile’s driver.

If the proprietor is behind on funds, the lender can proceed to show off the air conditioner or use the audio system to play “an incessant and ugly sound each time the proprietor is within the automobile.”

As a final resort, the lender can disable the “engine, brake, accelerator, steering wheel, doorways, and headlights of the car,” because the patent suggests, or just lock the doorways.

Different proposed options embody limiting the geographic space by which the car might be operated and displaying messages from the lender on the car’s multimedia display.

Like many giant companies, Ford actively applies for patents in giant volumes. The exemption patent was one in all 13 Ford patents printed on Feb. 23 alone and one in all greater than 350 printed this yr, in line with a evaluate of US patent data.

The corporate acquired 1,342 patents final yr, “masking a variety of concepts,” Sherwood mentioned.

The corporate’s different latest patents cowl a variety of functions: powertrain management, speech recognition, autonomous parking, redesign of tailgate attachments and gasoline inlets.

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