Ford Files For Patent That Can "Remotely Shut Down" Parts Of Your Car When Your Bill Isn't Paid
Remember when getting in your car and flying down the highway with the top down used to be the perfect escape from the mire and muck of everyday life, like bills and e-mail? Now, thanks to the implementation of technology in the auto industry, that once-freeing joyride is literally becoming bills and e-mail.
That's because a new patent from Ford now allows the manufacturer to "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", according to a new report from Bloomberg. While the official company line is that Ford has "no plans" to use the technology, we're certain that'll be proven to be incorrect over time.
“We submit patents on new inventions as a normal course of business, but they aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans,” Ford said.
And the patent coincidentally comes along at a time when many car owners are experiencing difficulty keeping up with rising rates, resulting in "delinquencies [that] have been steadily ticking back up from their pandemic lull".
John Van Alst, a senior attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, commented: “It really seems like you’re opening up a can of worms that, as a manufacturer, you don’t really need to be doing.”
“You’ve now created this device which is like the doomsday device in Dr. Strangelove,” he continued.
The technology is called a "repossession-linked technology" in the patent and can also disable cruise control and automated windows. “Disabling such components may cause an additional level of discomfort to a driver and occupants of the vehicle,” the patent reads.
Recall, back in September 2021, we wrote about how in-car cameras were already keeping a close eye on everything drivers were doing. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have now developed a smart-car camera system that can "figure out exactly what a driver is doing," according to a Gizmodo report from around the time.
We noted that the "appeal" of these points is what prompted the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation to come up with a camera that uses AI powered image recognition to construct a digital sketch of the driver - which then, in turn, provides enough details for the system to guess what the driver is doing. The system can determine things like when a driver is sipping a cup of coffee or looking at their phone.
The vehicle can then make a determination if the driver is paying attention, prompting a semi-autonomous system to determine how distracted they could be.
Pretty soon the car will be taking you out for a joyride when it's stressed...