If you miss the payments on your Ford F-150, Ford may soon be able to deactivate your ride with the click of a button.
The automaker applied for a patent on Feb. 23 related to technology that would enable them to remotely disable various features of their vehicles, The Drive reported last week.
According to the abstract of the application, the system they’ve created “pertains to systems and methods to repossess a vehicle.”
“In an example method, a first computer sends to a second computer, a message pertaining to a notice of delinquency of a vehicle-related payment. The message includes a request to an individual, such as a purchaser or a lessee of the vehicle, to acknowledge receipt of the message. The first computer may be associated with a financing agency (a bank or a lender) and the second computer may be a vehicle computer of the vehicle or a smartphone owned by the individual. When an acknowledgement is not received with a reasonable period of time, the first computer may disable functionality of a component of the vehicle or may place the vehicle in a lockout condition.”
The 14-page application goes on to detail how the system would work with manually driven and fully autonomous vehicles.
In the event that a customer is delinquent on payments for a self-driving car, Ford envisions a scenario where it might be desirable to remotely hijack the vehicle and order it to drive itself to a predetermined location.
The patent application doesn’t specify whether government agencies would be allowed backdoors into these systems, but it’s only a matter of time.
Here’s the patent application, welcome to the brave new world.