back to article Ford seeks patent for cars that ditch you if payments missed

A patent application from automaker Ford was published last week for embedded vehicle systems that facilitate an automobile's repossession, including autonomously moving it to a repossession agency. The patent [PDF], which was filed in August, covers more ways to combat non-payment. The least intrusive is a helpful message …

  1. Mark #255
    Facepalm

    Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

    outlines a potential to lock the vehicle out on weekends only so that the driver can still access a job

    Because, of course, jobs requiring weekend work can't possibly exist.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

      Especially for someone who's having trouble paying their auto loan.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

        In case you have been living under a rock, there is an active war against middle class. Punitive taxes, barriers to run small business and so on and so on.

        Middle class struggling to pay bills is part of the Agenda 2030, by that time everyone should be equally poor.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

          If you think that's bad wait till you see what Plan 2025 is - it's a bet to see how many credulous people fall for made-up conspiracy theory bullshit on social media. We seem to have arrived at the peak two years early.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

            "made-up conspiracy theory"

            Keep telling yourself that.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

            Not so fast. Although I don't think it's an explicit all out war, it HAS been an unashamed investment strategy sold to the super rich by Citigroup, and even after the scandal when it leaked has abated there were still people at Citigroup manning that specific team (I checked). There is no reason to suspect they have abandoned that strategy, we're now close to 20 years later and to be frank, I fear some have indeed put it into practice.

            After it leaked, Citigroup's lawyers mounted a veritable war on every occurrence of the in total three separate papers of investment advice, but as they found out, the Streisand effect that got its name a mere two years before the first paper leaked worked well, and I think you can still find the papers if you look for them.

            Here are their publication dates with some detail so you can see if you picked up the correct strategy papers:

            Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances (35 pages) - 16 October 2005

            Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer (16 pages) - 5 March 2006

            The Plutonomy Symposium - Rising Tides Lifting Yachts (64 pages) - 29 September 2006

            I suspect there will be at least some of the comments on this from around that time still be online. The Citigroup lawyers were really brutally aggressive in chasing after leaks (which to me indicates that someone had at least worked out that it wasn't a good idea to rile all the plebs they strategised against), but we all know that's a lost cause.

            So in summary, some ARE indeed out to get you..

            1. Sampler

              Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

              Well, it's not like the rich can rob the poor any more, they're strung out for everything already, time to make the middle-class poor because the avarice of those who already have more than they could ever need, or their future generations, inexplicably can't stop themselves from taking even more..

              1. Snake Silver badge
                Flame

                Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

                "Well, it's not like the rich can rob the poor any more, they're strung out for everything already

                But this is the system that everyone continues, over and over again, to VOTE FOR. Tax loopholes, breaks, subsidies and selective blindness of legal violations for Big Corp, foreign real estate investors, and the Wall Street investment class - that's "capitalism" - but nothing for anyone below those classes. Because that's "socialism".

                I'll say it again as a [d]emocrat (small 'd', democracy), we've EXACTLY got the system that [we] voted, and continue to vote, for. They've blinded a good portion of the electorate with utter bullshit, and the electorate is very happy to swallow it.

            2. Binraider Silver badge

              Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

              If you bought shares in Krupp the week before Pootin kicked off.. Well, let's just say you did very well out of that decision.

              I don't hold much time for conspiratorial crap, but one thing did catch my attention. In the days leading up to 9/11, short selling of options against the airlines went up to several times greater than any historical norm. It's not quite the smoking gun, but you can't tell me that rich folks that knew about it, and not western-aligned, perhaps had a hand in this.

              1. ShortLegs

                Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

                That could have been a herd effect after one short sell however.

                What is never posted is what else has ever been shorted, how many investors followed suit in shorting/dumping, and how often this has happened

                ie its a dog whistle

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

            I somehow doubt we are at "peak credulous" yet

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

          @elsergiovolador no, but you keep telling us you're an anti-Semitic idiot.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

            Oh dear, here we go!

        3. Winkypop Silver badge

          Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

          Ooooh “Agenda 2030” that’s a new one to me!

          Sounds extra looney.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

            *sigh*

            https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/agenda-2030-delivering-the-global-goals

            https://www.forbes.com/sites/worldeconomicforum/2016/11/10/shopping-i-cant-really-remember-what-that-is-or-how-differently-well-live-in-2030/?sh=2e7bb11f1735

            https://www.futureagenda.org/foresights/uk2030/

            https://www.un.org/humansecurity/agenda-2030/

            https://initiatives.weforum.org/2030vision-network/home

            You might want to invest in that tin foil hat now.

            1. Potemkine! Silver badge

              Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

              Echoing human security principles, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes a “world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want … free of fear and violence … with equitable and universal access to quality education, health care and social protection … to safe drinking water and sanitation … where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious … where habits are safe, resilient and sustainable … and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.

              Woah... that sounds horrible! /s

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

          > there is an active war against middle class

          Define “middle class”.

          I typically earn a little under £100k pa and still regard myself as working class…

          Suspect it probably has something to do with not having been to private school and not sending my children to private school, and not voting Conservative.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

            You are aware there are people that make between 10k and 24k a year, 100k a year isn't that low of a class

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

              Totally aware. Just noting “middle class” is more a state of mind to justify a form of snobbery that is doing much to hold the UK back.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

          The middle class guy who wrote this vacuous patent is doing all right!

      2. The Travelling Dangleberries

        Re: Tell me you're middle-class without telling me etc etc

        I usually don't like saying "I told you so" but in this case I will allow myself to feel smug.

        https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2016/01/05/want_new_smartphone_laptop_tablet_no/#c_2737824

  2. xyz Silver badge

    Don't suppose the patent covers...

    A non payer taking a sledgehammer to said vehicle once it's locked him out for non payment.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

      Well, it will have the cameras on. Then, when you hit the car with said sledgehammer, it will trigger the accident detection circuits and automatically call to 911 (or 112, or whoever) and will be streaming the camera footage as evidence to the improper authorities.

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

        911

        This is a Frod, not a Porsche.

        1. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

          This is a Frod, not a Porsche.

          Ford Credit finances trucks, including semis like the Ford F-Max, maybe $100K USD for a tractor depending on options, plus more for a trailer.

          And yes, Ford Credit does repossessions on trucks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

        > it will have the cameras on

        Which is why I'll be wearing the gorilla suit. Maybe the tiktok or Youtube revenues will cover the payments on my next car.

        1. Persona

          Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

          Better hope it does because not only do you still owe the delinquent car payments you will contractually owe all the future ones too even though said car is a pile of scrap and unusable to you. Depending on the type of car finance you may well also eventually be required to pay to restore the car to its new condition with an allowance made for fair ware and tear, which never includes gorilla rampages.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

            You're right. Any new lease contract should now be evaluated to ensure gorilla damage exemptions..

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't suppose the patent covers... Monkey business?

            You assumed it was his car.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

      Should I *ever* own a Ford, it will be up on the rack in a garage... Fix Or Repair Daily... F.O.R.D. I would love to see it try to drive down off the rack! That would surely garner lots of cash on the tube or gram...

      Now where is Calvin pissing on a Ford?

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

        One of the teachers at my school in the early 1980's had a Cortina that had lost it's chrome "R" on the bonnet, so he found another "O" and drove a "FOOD" for a while.

        I thought it was funny anyway.

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

        I'm glad you spelled out that acronym for us

        1. Intractable Potsherd

          Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

          Found On Roadside Dead.

          1. Twilight

            Re: Don't suppose the patent covers...

            I don't really understand these back-cronyms for FORD - they've been around 40ish years and have never been accurate. FORD is (and has usually been) above average reliability and dependability.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wow, ubik was not supposed to be an instruction manual

  4. WolfFan

    Ah.

    Another reason to never buy a Ford.

    Personally I stopped buying Fords after the Great Silent Recall Incident. Apparently there was a known problem with the thermostat in several models made in the early 2000s. They would sometimes fail, without warning. I was driving one such vehicle when the thermostat failed. Getting to where it could be fixed was… interesting. There was no charge for the fix… except for the possibility of heating damage to the engine, that is. All because Ford couldn’t be bothered to issue a recall. Sold it quickly. Never bought a Ford since. This reinforces my position.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Ah.

      As if Ford being a good friend of Hitler wasn't the good enough reason?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah.

        Personally, I'm not going to hold a company responsible for the attitudes of its founder who died over 30 years before I was born. Putting this kind of software into the product, however...

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Ah.

          They should at least have decency to change their name to distance themselves from their founder.

          Given they have not done it, it seems like they don't mind their past.

          1. LogicGate Silver badge

            Re: Ah.

            Like IBM?

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: Ah.

              Like IBM.

            2. Blank Reg

              Re: Ah.

              You'll need to find yourself an alternate reality if you hoping to see IBM behaving decently

          2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

            Re: Ah.

            IBM didn't change their name after selling equipment and consulting services to the Nazis during WWII. Their stock didn't suffer from it, nor were their board of directors prosecuted for war crimes. Given that, why should Ford worry?

            1. Diogenes

              Re: Ah.

              IBM didn't change their name after selling equipment and consulting services to the Nazis during WWII

              They did, it was the Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen GmbH (Dehomag), not IBM that sold to the Nazis

              1. david 12 Silver badge

                Re: Ah.

                Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen GmbH (Dehomag)

                More or less controlled out of New York. Equally important, IBM NY continued to direct other IBM subsidiaries to sell paper and card to DHM. That might not seem like much. but IBM cards (the razor blades in the IBM handle) were the technological edge that distinguished IBM equipment from their competitors. Without the support of IBM NY, there still would have been a Holocaust, but the machinery of the Holocaust would have stuck, jammed and torn.

                Post-war, IBM continued the same sales approach: what history teaches you is about their over-priced main-frame CPU's, but the reason people bought them was that IBM tightly controlled sales of other ancillary equipment: if you didn't want your tapes to stick, jam and tear, you bought from IBM.

      2. seven of five

        Re: Ah.

        That's a really strange obsession you have there.

      3. Black Label1
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Ah.

        "As if Ford being a good friend of Hitler wasn't the good enough reason?"

        From what I can recall, IBM also assisted the National Socialist party in their organization efforts.

        1. sschuchart

          Re: Ah.

          And sold them punch-card tabulators that were eventually used to track people in the Holocaust.

      4. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Ah.

        So no german cars or brands owned by German manufacturers, no Renault (because Louis Renault made trucks for the Wehrmacht during WW2), no GM and associated brand (because it owned Opel during WW2), No japanese cars either, because of what Japan did during WW2. Let's not talk about Russian or Chinese brands, both countries being dictatorships....

        I wonder if there's any car maker that wasn't associated with atrocities at a moment or another?

        1. Jadith

          Re: Ah.

          Possibly Tesla....so far.

        2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Re: Ah.

          Perhaps some old American brands: Studebaker, Hudson, Tucker, Rambler, Auburn, Cadillac, Nash, Cord, Kaiser-Frazer, Willys-Overland ... though most of them were eventually absorbed by one of the American Big Three automakers, or went out of business.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: Ah.

      My dad used to have a Sierra. It was actually quite a good car, but he'd bought it because it was relatively cheap to maintain, and he was a cab driver, so got heavy use.

      That said, my one memory of the car happened on the hottest day of the year. I was one of four adults in the car, and the thermostat had failed a day or so before. Dad decided to keep the engine cool by turning the heating on, thus venting the heat from the engine in to the passenger cabin. We all opened our windows, but still sweated enough that not only did it soak our clothes, but I swear that's the only car journey I've taken where I lost weight in the car.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: Ah.

        I've had a couple of Ford's, one acquired for nowt, the other with malice aforethought. The first one, a Mk2 Fiesta 1100, was meant to be a stopgap, but, as we all know, there's nothing so permanent as a temporary fix - I had it as my only car for years. To be fair, I knew the car (my ex-girlfriend's) and had fixed most of the electrical problems before it passed to me. The bodywork was a different matter - it ended up with two different-coloured front doors and a wing held on with pop-rivets wherever there was enough metal to hold them. However, mechanically it was really sweet - I did thousands of miles, including forest rally stages, with nary a glitch. I'm quite nostalgic for that car, really.

        The second - a 2.0 Sierra - for reasons I can't recall became something I felt I must have. It was okay, but the ergonomics left a deal to be desired (the radio could only be safely used on the move if there was a passenger), and boy, was it gutless. One day it started to make an odd pinging noise, and lapsed on to three cylinders. Compression testing showed good on all four pots, but examining the plugs discovered one didn't have an electrode! Head off, number 3 piston had a lump and several pits it shouldn't have. Not Ford's fault, and really a testament to good engine-building. Several months later, the car just failed to start, I was in a position to let it go, so got it towed without any remorse at all.

        Tl:dr - I've been quite lucky with Fords.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. sschuchart

      Re: Ah.

      Friends don't let friends buy Fords.

    4. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Ah.

      My wife got a Fiesta, refitted for methane by the dealer. IIRC, it has about 70k kilometers, and we've already paid over 50% the cost of the car in exceptional maintenance. Oh, and we can't drive over about 90 kph during the summer, lest it overheats, and apparently they can't fix this problem. Part of this screwup of a car has been blamed on the methane conversion, but since it was done by the dealer pre-sale, as far as I'm concerned it's still Ford. Never again. I had a Fiat before, which had a few problems, but nowhere near as much, or as expensive, as the Ford.

      My current Hyundai has covered the same distance by now, and it has had exactly zero exceptional maintenance. I haven't even changed a lightbulb.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah.

        haven't even changed a lightbulb

        It has LEDs?

        :)

        1. Denarius Silver badge

          Re: Ah.

          LEDS ? Odd, around here in the boonies of Oz the new LED equipped cars have more light failures than the old tungsten globes. As for user hostile vehicles, I cant go past new mercedes commercial vehicles

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ah.

            I suspect it's hot where you are.

            Lightbulbs can handle that (after all, they basically work by producing heat, light is more or less a happy byproduct), LEDs not so much.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah.

        My last 3 cars have been Korean. Kia & Hyundai. A few minor niggles covered under warranty like a small hole in the carpet where my clutch foot rests.

        I can't see my self buying a European built car again.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah.

          As the US is re-industrialising, it is making sure that Europe is de-industrialised. I can't see any European built car in 10 years.

      3. Twilight

        Re: Ah.

        I don't understand why auto makers allow dealers to do pre-sale modifications with third-party kit. It seems like it's just asking for issues and tarnishing the brand due to problems.

        My current potential issue (that thankfully hasn't been an issue) is I bought an Audi with a Stasis chip (conservatively modified engine chip). Stasis was an official Audi partner. The chip was sent direct to Statis for reprogramming before I ever took receipt of the car. Stasis went under and, per Audi, if I have a problem with the engine chip, it is NOT covered by warranty -- even though I bought it through the dealer with Audi's official partner and the dealer stressed that it had the exact same warranty. I'm sorry but, at that point, it is an Audi problem (fortunately I haven't had an issue with the chip since Stasis went under so I haven't had to argue over it).

      4. Chris 239
        Joke

        Re: Ah.

        Maybe you aren't eating enough beans?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah.

      That was a small problem. You may want to look up two slightly more dangerous issues where the Ford company displayed some, er, "interesting" decision processes:

      - The Ford Pinto fuel tank affair

      - The Ford Firestone tyre controversy.

      Those would indeed suggest to exercise a degree of hesitancy before engaging with the company again, but it appears they have improved since.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah.

        and the crown victoria police cars that were exploding when impacted from the rear https://www.autosafety.org/popular-police-cars-crown-victorias-prone-explode-tied-deaths/

      2. Filippo Silver badge

        Re: Ah.

        >Those would indeed suggest to exercise a degree of hesitancy before engaging with the company again, but it appears they have improved since.

        Good for them, but "does not explode" is, shall we say, a low bar to clear. They'll have to do way better, and keep doing it for a while, if they want my money again.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Ah.

        "the Ford company displayed some, er, "interesting" decision processes:"

        The people responsible left with golden parachutes and went to work for Boeing :-)

    6. DS999 Silver badge

      These things are coming to all brands

      I have a 2021 Audi that requires a monthly subscription for certain services like remotely unlocking the doors or opening windows that need a data connection, plus obviously the Nav system. So I get that they can't get free data connection from a carrier for the life of the car and that's probably where most of the fee goes. Though I'd prefer if it had a SIM slot (or better yet eSIM) so I could buy my own service, since there are very cheap data only connections available from MVNOs in the US versus them having Verizon 'built in' as the carrier.

      I don't really care about that sort of stuff, the only function I can't get without paying that I would want is being able to say "Hey Audi" and have it change radio stations or whatever. But that's not worth a couple hundred bucks a year! The Nav system is pointless since I rely on my phone for that.

      I doubt you'll be able to buy a car without this sort of thing from any automaker in a few years, if that's not already true.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: These things are coming to all brands

        Interestingly, Audi is one of the few companies who takes data security and privacy *very* serious.

        When they started with the navigation display that picks up data from Google I wondered how they did this without breaking German privacy laws. After some enquiries I ended up with a most interesting discussion at their German HQ with the person who is actually responsible for privacy at Audi, and I came away far more impressed than I was expecting. Personally I think they ought to write up what they do, it would be good marketing IMHO.

        Given how much trouble I had with Mercedes regarding the abuse of my information, the difference could not be greater so I suspect my next car will be again an Audi. Now all this online malarky in cars is EU mandated (you can't get a new car without it) I'd want a manufacturer that is more than marginally aware of my rights and puts some effort in.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: These things are coming to all brands

          I was pleased that a "privacy settings" dialog came up on my Audi's main display each time I started the car, which lets you set it (and you can turn off everything if you aren't using any of the subscription stuff) and then select "don't show again" so you don't keep seeing it after you've disabled everything. I imagine plenty of cars sold in the US provide little or nothing of this sort.

          I idly wonder if the cellular modem is still active so Verizon can track my car's location, but since Verizon is already able to track me via cell phone service it is not worth worrying about...

    7. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Ah.

      Fortunately every other manufacturer except Ford is a paragon of niceness, and certainly would never try to screw over customers to make more money for the shareholders.

      /s

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah.

        No, but some turn out to be aware of the fact that treating their customers as more than just milkable wallets is more likely to guarantee repeat business.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Ah.

          Ok, now that is news. Do tell, who is this manufacturer?

          I mean, you could imagine that maybe some of the high end brands selling luxury cars have to take care of their customers, but from what I've heard they're even worse than the 'normal' manufactures. Ferrari, for example, treat their customers like absolute mugs.

          1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

            Re: Ah.

            They are, Limoge mugs tho

    8. DugEBug

      Re: Ah.

      Ah - another reason to keep my old car. It's getting harder to find points and caps for it though.

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Invention

    Why something like this is even patentable?

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Invention

      "Why something like this is even patentable?"

      Where have you been for the last twenty years? They would patent breathing if they could.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Invention

        They can't?!

        1. theDeathOfRats
          Joke

          Re: Invention

          Of course they can! They just have to add "using a computer|the cloud|blockchain" somewhere in the patent filings.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Invention

            At least they can't use "on a mobile device" this time around. We have legs! :-)

    2. Adrian 4

      Re: Invention

      If patenting it stops anyone except Ford from doing it, I'm all for that.

      1. Black Label1
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Invention

        "If patenting it stops anyone except Ford from doing it, I'm all for that."

        Patenting means everyone will still do it, but a big chunk of the money will go to Ford.

      2. rnturn

        Re: Invention

        > If patenting it stops anyone except Ford from doing it, I'm all for that.

        It won't and Fords will probably be hacked and stolen using this "drive somewhere easier to tow" feature in no time.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Invention

          "Fords will probably be hacked and stolen using this"

          When I read that bit in the article that was my very first thought too!

    3. claimed Silver badge

      Re: Invention

      I know!

      Prior art: Minority Report

    4. kurkosdr

      Re: Invention

      Because the US patent office, along with many other patent offices, has adopted a policy of "grant all the patents and let the courts figure it out". Anyone wants to bet the patent doesn't mention how the self-driving part happens? (which is the hard part here) It's like getting a patent for faster-than-light travel where you say how nice faster-than-light travel is and how many galaxies it could help explore, but not saying how to do it (which is the hard part). Now it's up to the courts to maybe invalidate it.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Invention

        Complete bullshit. USPTO publishes annual statistics, and they typically deny about half of all applications.

        Of course, as per usual, you and your upvoters would much rather rant than do even a modicum of research.

  6. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    They'll have to add some ability for the car to put its wheels back on and get down from the bricks.

    1. AVR

      If they can get you to disable the car when you stop making payments, you're working for them.

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    F.O.R.D

    Fix Or REPO'd Daily.

    F'k Ford.

    You might have title for the vehicle but FORD will always own it. (You can replace FORD with TESLA and a few other makes)

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: F.O.R.D

      Found On Road, Dead.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: F.O.R.D

        Financial Outage Repossession Directive.

      2. sschuchart

        Re: F.O.R.D

        Fubar'd Old Retired Dodge

        1. Total_Blackout

          Re: F.O.R.D

          F'd Over Rebuilt Dodge

          1. ravenviz Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: F.O.R.D

            And from the 80’s, Crapi, Mundano etc. (Actually that’s it!)

            1. hplasm
              Happy

              Re: F.O.R.D

              You forgot - The Ford Onion

  8. Luiz Abdala
    Terminator

    BOFH tampering..

    ... you know, instead of going to a dealership, it locks the user inside and proceeds to move at high speeds on the wrong way of an Interstate... while disabling the forward collision sensors...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BOFH tampering..

      You joke now, but imagine a hacking campaign doing just that for every car with the repo code so it got the blame for accidents.

      It would make the recent +300k Tesla FSD recalls a mere bagatel.

    2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Re: BOFH tampering..

      I was thinking the nominal owner of the car might hire a local techie to disable all that shit, and maybe send out fake GPS coordinates to make it look like it was sitting in the repo company's lot.

      I'm waiting for some modern car to display the message, "No Internet connectivity. Vehicle temporarily disabled. Please call dealer for service."

      1. Emir Al Weeq

        Re: BOFH tampering..

        You will be waiting, along with everyone else stuck behind it in the tunnel.

      2. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: BOFH tampering..

        > send out fake GPS coordinates to make it look like it was

        in another country entirely, one that drives on the other side of the road...

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: BOFH tampering..

          > that drives on the other side of the road...

          We can be certain that all the self-driving stuff will not have taken into account cars roaming from driving on the left to driving on the right…

    3. ITMA Silver badge

      Re: BOFH tampering..

      We have that in the UK already - it is called TWOKing....

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: BOFH tampering..

        For non-UKains, Taken Without Consent, or TWoC, is lower down the scale than theft since it's the crime of taking something, usually a car, without the intention of permanently depriving the owner, eg joyriders, or even just taking dads car without asking him and getting pulled over for no insurance or having prang and cops arrive on scene.

        1. ITMA Silver badge

          Re: BOFH tampering..

          Yup I should have typed TWOC ;)

  9. AnotherName
    Pirate

    Remote controlled theft?

    Of course, we all know it will be so secure that no-one will be able to hack in and steal your car remotely... don't we..?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remote controlled theft?

      Technically, that's merely repossessing by another name..

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many problems with this.

    1. Payment dispute or outright error by loaner - car is automatically repossessed (self-repossessed? self-possessed?) despite owner being up to date on payments.

    2. Hackers turned car thieves. "Car, owner is behind on his payments, so please park yourself in this nicely RF-shielded shipping container..."

    (Edit: Ninja'd by AnotherName!)

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: So many problems with this.

      Payment dispute or outright error by loaner - car is automatically repossessed (self-repossessed? self-possessed?) despite owner being up to date on payments.

      As someone who spent part of this morning dealing with a warning letter about an invoice that I'd already settled, I agree that incompetency on behalf of the debt issuer is a worry...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So many problems with this.

      So, have Ford come up with a name yet? I vote for "CHRISTINE":-

      Car Hire Response Intelligent System Targetting Imbursement Null Enduser

      1. J. Cook Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: So many problems with this.

        I think Mr. King might want some royalty payments for that...

      2. Sudosu Bronze badge

        Re: So many problems with this.

        My vote is for a Maximum overdrive update.

        Just throw money at AC DC for reusing the old soundtrack and make it about EVs.

  11. AnotherName

    What about the buyers?

    If I was to go into a car showroom and pay for the car in cash, by a bank loan or other external means of funding, will this still be enabled? Or will I always be at risk of my car turning against me accidentally, maliciously or otherwise? I'd want a written guarantee that the 'feature' had been fully disabled or I would walk away from the purchase. Mind you, if it had keyless entry and/or start, I wouldn't buy it without the ability to disable that 'feature' too.

    1. Wally Dug

      Re: What about the buyers?

      In a similar vein, I collected my new car last week, coincidentally a Ford. When I was being shown the gizmos, we came to the satnav, including the history of the previous owner. When I asked about resetting the car to factory settings, I was met with a blank stare. When I explained that I didn't want the previous owner's details in my car - or worse, them having the ability to do things to the car via their phone - I was told that there was a reset option within Settings... but they didn't know anything about it and wouldn't recommend using it "in case it broke anything".

      Obviously I paid no heed and performed a factory reset myself. Believe it or not, the car didn't explode or stop working and now has no record of the previous owner.

      But it's frightening the amount of data that Ford (and I guess the other manufacturers) collect and store about you. My only hope is that it has a 2G or 3G SIM card as those systems are getting shut down within the next year or so.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: What about the buyers?

        @Wally Dug

        If in Europe that sound like a nasty GDPR breach by the "dealership" selling the car.

        With all the (IMHO needless) crud on modern cars that links to peoples phones then would expect a responsible dealership would have done a "reset" to get rid of any PII - otherwise there could be obvious PII from sat nav history giving address clue, Bluetooth phone linkage potentially leaving a contacts list in the car. Not to mention dubious phone linked apps that include "find my car" functionality (that some vehicles have now) which could let the ex owner see where the new owner keeps the car.

        If you buy a second hand phone from a phone shop they have (in my experience) always reset the phone.

        Car dealers should similarly treat a modern car as something that can leak lots of PII and clear its data as appropriate.

        1. Wally Dug

          Re: What about the buyers?

          @tiggity

          It was bought from Europe's largest independent family-run car dealership*. And regardless of the personal details stored within the car systems, the Motability contract of the previous owner was in the glovebox, complete with their name and address in a covering letter. What's that about personal details?

          As has been mentioned in various stories over the years on El Reg and others, car dealerships have a long way to go regarding resetting cars that they have up for sale, hence why I specifically asked. And as I don't have a mobile phone (yes, really!) I won't need to add one... but the car expects me to as there is a button that takes up literally a quarter of the home screen offering me to "Add Phone". No!!! I don't want - or need - to.

          *Which coincidentally suffered a cyber attack on 23 December 2022.

          1. Steve Hersey

            What about the seller?

            I won't disagree with the points made about the dealer and GDPR issues, but I will point out that the seller was clearly a fool to not sanitise the car's infosystems and remove all hardcopy documents with their personal data.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: What about the seller?

              And, additionally, I don't think GDPR covers hard copy documents anyway, especially when the person whose PII it is is the one who left them lying around.

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: What about the seller?

                It does cover such documents. That was one the the notable changes when the Data Protection Act was amended.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What about the buyers?

          If in Europe that sound like a nasty GDPR breach by the "dealership" selling the car.

          You'd say that, but I had a small Merc for a few months as a company car in 2018 (not my choice, but there were no alternatives). I still get email for it, despite signing out as per their protocol at the garage.

          Once find some time I'll send the whole set straight to the Privacy Commissioner so they can explain themselves there.

      2. Updraft102

        Re: What about the buyers?

        "But it's frightening the amount of data that Ford (and I guess the other manufacturers) collect and store about you."

        Not mine. It has no data logging except for two digit trouble codes, and you have to have access to the underhood connector to read them. The car has no GPS receiver, so it has no idea where it is, and it has no other sensors that are unrelated to engine stuff that would have any use to data-slurping spy companies. There is no means to flash the firmware, with the model number of the ECU having exactly one program (different programs would mean different models), and the ECU has been using the same program for over 30 years and a quarter million miles (original unrebuilt engine, still works very well!). And it truly is only an ECU... it controls only the injector pulse timing and duty cycle, the spark advance, the idle air bypass, and that's it.

        I don't need or want any more than this. There are certainly some nice things about newer cars, but messing up the ideal balance my car now has between EFI drivability and old-car autonomy from Skynet would not be something I would take lightly. I'd have to have some mitigations against that stuff.

        "My only hope is that it has a 2G or 3G SIM card as those systems are getting shut down within the next year or so."

        If it has one of those, could you not just remove it? Or better yet, remove the connection to the antenna. Full airgap.

    2. usbac Silver badge

      Re: What about the buyers?

      If I were to go out and purchase a new(er) car, I would request that the wireless radio be removed, and I want the part placed in my hand. If the car can't be operated without it, then I don't want the car.

      I understand that I may have to keep the car I have now until I drop dead, but I won't have a "connected car".

      Us techies need to start an organization to build "replacement" wireless radio (simulators) for all of these new spyware-mobiles. Something that makes the car think it's phoning home.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the buyers?

        Given that Vodafone is now educating people on how to build basically mini Stingrays using Raspberry Pi, I'm sure someone will eventually cobble an approach together that will pick up the car's IMSI and route that traffic to /dev/null..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about the buyers?

        Given that EU law now mandates that cars have a SIM card so they can call in case of emergencies you'll have a hard job.

        I suggest sticking to something older like Inspector Morse's Jag ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What about the buyers?

          OK, but what is he going to drive then?

          :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the buyers?

      You won't be buying the car. You will be leasing it from Ford. Buying will be considered old-fashioned.

    4. Updraft102

      Re: What about the buyers?

      If the car's behavior can be changed by a simple firmware update, one that requires in-person access to its OBD II port, that's bad enough. The car could be updated without your knowledge or consent any time you have it in for servicing.

      If the car's behavior can be changed by an OTA firmware update, where it could be done while the car is at home in your garage, without you even knowing about it, that's much worse.

      If someone other than me has the technical ability (whether or not they choose to use it being a separate issue) to change the behavior of an item I own without me giving the go-ahead order (for that update specifically, not just in the "you agreed to the EULA, and it says we can do anything we want" sense), then I am not interested in that item.

      1. blackcat Silver badge

        Re: What about the buyers?

        "If the car's behavior can be changed by an OTA firmware update, where it could be done while the car is at home in your garage, without you even knowing about it, that's much worse."

        Most high end EVs now do this. Tesla and Rivian for sure. A Rivian owner had his truck bricked by a failed upgrade that kept trying and trying until the 12v battery ran out. He only discovered this when the car would not unlock. I believe Tesla owners have reported features going missing overnight due to OTA updates.

  12. heyrick Silver badge

    Patent?

    Aren't patents supposed to describe things that actually exist, not some wishful thinking to use as a blunt instrument to wield a decade from now?

    We don't have reliable "supported by a driver" automation, so where are these cars that can competently drive themselves back to the mothership?

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Re: Patent?

      Not anymore in the US

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Patent?

        So called "prophetic patents" (ie for things that don't exist yet), have been allowed in the US for at least fifty years.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Patent?

      Patents are just mechanisms used by rich companies to gatekeep access to technologies anyone could come up.

    3. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: Patent?

      In the UK, I believe they do. In the US, it seems they can patent anything. For instance, Apple patented a rather cool looking (IMO) Macbook dock that was essentially an iMac that you slid your Macbook into the side of, so you could use your macbook as if it were an iMac. They never built such a device, and, TBH, not sure how much difference the patent made for them. Even if someone else did build an iMac shaped dock, Apple have probably copyrighted the designs, and have all sorts of other legal protection on it.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Patent?

        The UK was working hard to make the European patent system as bad as the US. Thanks to Brexit, the EU has a better chance of putting some kind of limits on their patents.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Patent?

          Benoît Battistelli is French. For once it wasn't our fault, Brexit or otherwise.

        2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Patent?

          The EU has an advantage in that regard as it is more difficult to buy this many politicians and only biggest players can afford the number of brown envelopes it takes to get legislation done in the EU.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Patent?

            That just means only the bigger companies can do it..

      2. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Patent?

        Apple have probably copyrighted the designs

        In the USA, you do that with a "design patent", which is why the media always describes these designs as "patented".

      3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Patent? @Stuart

        I thought that there was a provision in US Patent law that makes it difficult to defend (note I said defend rather than register) a patent if, after a fixed time, you've not actually demonstrated an implementation using it.

        I could be wrong, but I thought that it was there to prevent somebody patenting something that they didn't/couldn't make work, to prevent speculative patents as a land-grab for interesting ideas that were not yet realizable.

        Feel free to correct me, I'm genuinely interested.

    4. Steve B

      The US Patent Office should be disassembled

      It is completely out of hand now and basically just feeding the US legal system.

      All they need is a few school leavers to go through the patents, work out which ones are actually original and not natural extensions or rip offs from Sci Fi books.

      That should cut it down to a few dozen!

      If that is too much, then they should just start at the automatic disqualification of any software only patents.

      You would not be able to patent a book or a story, yet software is only a language and there are only a few ways to arrange that language , far less than any spoken language, which makes patenting a complete non sequitur.

      If I recall correctly, my Sky box will disable my viewing should I stop paying my bills. As Sky would not be visiting the house to effect the disconnection, then at least part of the Ford patent is already automatically invalid.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: The US Patent Office should be disassembled

        Mobile phone operators can do it already as well, and they have the option to add the IMEI number of a device to the blacklist to stop the phone being used with a different SIM. Whether they do or not, I don't know.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Junkyard?

    "As mentioned, it could also move itself to a repossession agency or junkyard."

    Well, it is a Ford after all...

    1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Junkyard?

      That's what I was also wondering about. Found On the Rubish Dump. It's going home.

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    iCar

    As mentioned, it could also move itself to a repossession agency or junkyard.

    I'd check existing patents/parents granted to Apple for that last point. They'd probably want the iDrivers to update to the next revision of the iCar in accordance with their update cycle

  15. Neil 44

    John Dear Tractors...

    .... stolen from Ukraine spring to mind

  16. disgruntled yank

    Prior art?

    They used to be pretty good on breaking a few miles or days out of warranty.

  17. zuckzuckgo

    Dude, Where's My Car?

    Time for a movie remake? Or at least a headline remake.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can I patent a scheme where, if a motor manufacturer doesn't meet the promises of its specification or it's guarantee, I can remotely and autonomously move the money I paid back into my bank account?

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Coat

      Money I paid...

      ...including compound interest at the bank’s overdraft rate for the period since the initial purchase.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Money I paid...

        .. and a penalty charge for wasting your time, of course.

  19. trevorde Silver badge

    Meanwhile at Tesla

    [CFO] Damn! Why didn't we think of that? Elon? ... Elon? ... [desperately] ELON?

  20. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Shrieked

    I shrieked with laughter when I read that the car would repossess itself and drive away when you miss payments. It had never occurred to me that self-driving technology could be used for this (although it's obvious when you think about it).

    I'd love to see the expression on people's faces who's car sitting in the driveway suddenly drives off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shrieked

      I'd love to see the face of the politicians who would approve such an idea as their drivers suddenly find themselves locked out of the car controls when some hackers decide to go educational on them..

      At present, cars are even less secure than a fresh Windows install before the usual TB of patches have downloaded and installed..

    2. ITS Retired

      Re: Shrieked

      Worse, when it is setting in the garage, with the door closed and it drives off.

      1. Pirate Peter

        Re: Shrieked

        how long before there is a mass market in wheels clamps owners can fit to block their cars driving off for repossession etc?

        so easily foiled

        a plan as well thought out as Wile E Coyote's plans to catch the road runner :) :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shrieked

          I have been toying with learning how to pick locks and then "freeing" clamped cars as a hobby. There's just too much scope for abuse and shady practices with how they work.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shrieked

      The call of the wild.

      My Mustang has gone off to join its herd.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shrieked

        The call of reality TV...

        "Help! My car's been (re)possessed"

  21. sschuchart

    What crap

    Any car that does that would be immediately off the buy list.

    Any car that requires subscriptions to use common features....immediately off the buy list.

    Next up: Cars that automatically report driving info (hard stops, acceleration, distances, etc) to insurance companies. Fuck them too.

    1. Emir Al Weeq
      Joke

      Re: What crap

      >Cars that automatically report driving info

      You could use that to your advantage: take it on a track day on the first day of the month. You're unmonitored for the rest of the month because you've used up the SIM's data allowance.

  22. Marty McFly Silver badge
    FAIL

    So if the capability exists...

    Of course there will be no vulnerabilities in this system and no possibility of exploit, right? Such technology would never be used to autonomously 'repo' a car and have it drive to the nearest chop shop. That would never happen in the real world.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge
      Go

      Re: So if the capability exists...

      I can only assume you are being sarcastic, because such devices exist now, just not as a factory feature. There's a few dealerships that are of the 'buy here, pay here' variety that cater to people with poor credit, and as such, when you buy a vehicle from them, you also agree to have a tracking and immobilizing device installed (at your expense, tacked on to the purchase contract) that will allow the dealer to remotely immobilize the car if you fall behind on your payments.

      At least one dealer got sued when they either forgot to disable it on a paid off vehicle, or there was a mistake that kept immobilizing someone's car...

      1. Eel

        Re: So if the capability exists...

        This entire piece focused on big time Ford financing not an isolated used car lot preying on deplorable credit to attract its kill.

  23. DrSunshine0104

    Between the problems with DRM on vehicles (and tractors), phones, etc and snooping around in them at the same time, we all might as well not call it owning anything and just renting.

  24. martinusher Silver badge

    Dystopia

    Its not the concept, that's obvious, but the fact that Ford would waste engineering and patent lawyers on this concept.

    Its a strong argument for never having 'always on' connectivity for anything that's important in your life. This is another nail in the IoT coffin -- connecting things up to the 'net is trivial but this connectivity needs to be managed locally with remote connectivity being something that's controlled by the user / owner of the device.

    The ambitions of companies like Stellaris to promote a subscription model for their products has already made buying new cars difficult -- I don't want a car that's connected to the manufacturer because its so easy to abuse this facility, its gives second rate people plenty of scope for bright ideas which are essentially paying them money to come up with ever more complex ways to stop a functional product from working.

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Dystopia

      Ford would waste engineering and patent lawyers on this concept.

      My understanding is that Ford Credit is the largest single part of the Ford conglomerate.

  25. Ball boy Silver badge

    What fun!

    I can only imagine what a laugh someone will have when they find a hole in the security at Ford and 'relocate' thousands of cars to some suitable public location.

    I'm no black hat - but even I can see the temptation to become one just for the giggles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What fun!

      Maybe someplace like the Ford corporate headquarters? I'm envisioning a thousand empty cars filling Ford's parking lots, on-premises roads, queues to gates, etc.

    2. usbac Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: What fun!

      I'm thinking one by one, at high speed, off of some local pier would be fun. Stream it to YouTube!

  26. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Happy

    Coming soon

    A country music song where its the truck that leaves him.....

    Admit it.. you're humming the tune already....

  27. JohnJacob
    Pint

    This is easy

    Dear Mr. Ford's legal department,

    The repossession algorithm on your autonomous vehicle ran over my leg. Please enjoy your recently acquired used car. I will be happy enjoying the pain and suffering damages awarded me after a fruitful lawsuit.

    Toodaloo,

    Joe Consumer

  28. Denarius Silver badge

    explanation

    so thats why ten year old vehicles are rising in value. Repairable, made of metal so they fall apart in 15 years, enough smart engine management but no stupids like built in leeching of wallet

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A patent

    Didn't we see this last year in Ukraine? All the John Deere tractors that were stolen were remotely disabled.

    And there was a court case last year in the US about "Right to Repair" these tractors. It turned out that the farmers didn't own the tractors but were leasing them and John Deere owns all the tractors they now produce, and you buy a leasehold on it.

    Will be interesting when these come to end of life and need to be disposed.

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: A patent

      "Will be interesting when these come to end of life and need to be disposed."

      That sounds similar to the situation wtih ISP-supplied internet routers - these normally remain the property of the ISP, according to the contract. Think I've only ever had one case of them wanting it back at the end of the contract, and that includes leased lines with Juniper or Cisco routers.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My 10 year old car is starting to look even better

    Average of 5,100 Kms a year, no dings, no rust, everything works, parts are plentiful, bought for cash.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: My 10 year old car is starting to look even better

      Its people like you (and me) that are killing the economy. Buying a car isn't about transportation, its about Making Those Payments.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Danger Will Robinson

    This will end up

    a) killing someone by leaving them somewhere, probably an old person

    or

    b) getting the car vandalised which will be blamed on the driver who will be liable

    And ... there will be mistakes causing this.

    Mind you nothing compared to coming horrors of CBDC

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Danger Will Robinson

      Self-driving trucks are a major research area for all the USA truck suppliers. The USA has a major long-haul trucking industry, using the trans-continental freeways. Even if they use drivers for delivery, they want to point the truck at one end of the freeway, and collect it at the other end.

      If there are driverless trucks, self-repossessing will be only a small part of that.

  32. Pirate Peter

    What could possibly go wrong???

    a computer and remote control are involved what could possibly go wrong

    human error of entering wrong reg?

    automated systems we all love them and the way they never get it wrong (how many times have we had incorrect automated decisions?)

    or the car being sold on and the system not updated

    then if cameras are remotely activated in the car where does that leave privacy laws? as you can't tell which way a vehicle is pointing and what may be visible outside the vehicle

    the list of potential issues is endless

  33. flayman Bronze badge

    What on earth is patentable about this?

    "The patent [PDF], which was filed in August, covers more ways to combat non-payment. The least intrusive is a helpful message delivered to the vehicle or a smartphone notifying the user of the delinquency."

    How is this an invention? It's just a very well understood business process with shed loads of prior art implemented as a software system. This kind of process that anyone could devise in their mind should not be eligible for patent. There is nothing novel about what the car manufacturing is proposing.

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: What on earth is patentable about this?

      Its very likely not, however the US patent office grants patents like it is handing out sweets and then lets the companies litigate later on to determine if the patent holds water or not. It saves them a lot of time and effort actually doing any work.

      Rectangles with rounded corners?

      1. Eel

        Re: What on earth is patentable about this?

        Lol my first thought was fords first attempt at market innovation in 75yrs required absolutly zero trade presence and not a single penny or any recource was required to devise a plan to corner an entire industry with no specific product or service offered other than preventing from anyone from useing technology,that Ford offered zero contribution to creating.. how is it even possible a massive publicly held company feels appropriate to even consider a legal pursuit that somehow excludes any others from making their cars beep their horns by simply clicking their mouse on beep icon. Ford actualy not even need government blessing as othet automobile manufacturers may actualy be professional enough to not use their own products to stir up enouhj public opposition by blaring a horn during their dinner and If needed random horn attacks at 3 in the morning. To hopefully force the public to pressure the customer to pay Ford whatever it takes to make the dreaded horns stop blowing.

  34. fairwinds

    Ford doesn’t have the tech to do this. Not even remotely close. So this is yet another example of “software” patent abuse. When someone *does* figure out how to do this, they’ll appear with their lawyers and their hand out. It’s a bit like being able to patent Park Place before the Monopoly game even begins. Not good.

  35. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
    Terminator

    Find work near a hospital or ambulance meeting spot and get driven there.

    Does this feature get removed after I make the last payment, or buy the car cash? High IQ is not distributed equally among office workers so the probability for having every Ford drive itself to the ambulance meeting spot one day should be infinitely close to 100%. (Ding! .... "No ambulance meeting today because the place is full of Fords").

  36. revdjenk

    Have you been Hertz?

    I've seen many articles about people who have viable rental vehicle agreements lose the vehicle when it was taken back by a major rental car company. This has happened even to people who have bought former rental vehicles ... just one day, gone, and the rental agency claims proper actions and/or ownership!

    Now, I've worked for a major credit union in the department that dealt with past due accounts, and have done repossessions myself. While it didn't happen to me, I had associates who had guns pointed at them for attempting to repossess vehicles. So I see the potential life preserving nature of this Ford capability, as well as its ease in recovery of a loan agencies property

    However, I also know that communication between loan and credit departments is not always smooth and accurate, much less between a loan agency and the automaker itself!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have you been Hertz?

      There has also been quite a lot of noise about Hertz logging properly rented cars as stolen in the US, with all the fun consequences that go with that idiocy.

      It's the key reason I won't even consider renting from Hertz anymore.

      Sometimes you're not dealing with mistakes, but with actual, wanton malice.

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Have you been Hertz?

      The typical error, which I saw frequently, and not just in vehicle credit, was the account where the initial down-payment, + month-in-advance was not correct, so the payments were always one month in arrears. But since payment was always made just before the due date, never more than a month in arrears, and never handled by collections. That meant that if you were one day late, suddenly you're a month late, facing penalty interest, and are being hassled by collections.

  37. Binraider Silver badge

    So, rather like the Boeing crippleware that grounded Army chinooks for months at a time?

    Seriously, why on earth would anyone want modern tat with the direction it's going? The direction of consumer products is very squarely going towards products that consume you. Not the other way round.

    You want to use the full rated capacity of the engine? That'll be £4.99/day. F^$% Ford and Mercedes and anyone else that chooses to indulge in this stupidity.

    If there is to be justice in this world people have to take notice and stop buying their crap.

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      "You want to use the full rated capacity of the engine? That'll be £4.99/day."

      Don't joke about it! I think it was the new Dodge charger where you could purchase time limited upgrades such as more BHP or different suspension settings. I can't find the video on youtube, it was a few weeks ago. A whole bunch of corporate idiots at some shareholder meeting talking about how they can make billions from x as a service on the cars.

      1. Eel

        Ford has already announced its projected profits on their plan to load up all their products with full options and then offer their customers to unlock the power seats they contol for a monthly subscription. So you know dam well customers will pay for evry option installed when purchased and then be offered a monthly fee to use them.

  38. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

    When it Fails

    When their autonomous driving car (or other wise) system fails and recalls to the mothership/borks your car when you are fully paid up, will they compensate you? not very likely.

    Also is it possible they will insist on controlling your car to only go to Ford owned garages for maintenance and on their schedule not yours or fine you if you do go elsewhere?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait see the Neuralink Patents!

    Can the medieval social system be patented, or is that already under Disney copyright?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree with all of the comments slamming Ford, however... who is actually dumb enough to get a loan to buy a car?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Someone who needs a car (eg because they live in the USA) but doesn't have the upfront cash (eg because they live in the USA)

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just another reason, to not buy a new car from a dealership,

  42. Pointinitout212

    Sales

    If this did go into effect wouldn't it affect the sales of the motor vehicles that put this stuff in their vehicles a lot of people wouldn't buy them anymore if they knew was in them

  43. Asymetrie

    Ford seeks patent..

    How may time will the register continue to ignore the implied capability of autonomous vehicles locking their doors and self-delivering themselves (and any passengers) to law enforcement locations?

  44. Eel

    Apparently Ford is confident that a year of gutting its customers with controlled price gouging and admitted dealer corrupt policies to hold customers hostage to further control gouging customers without control and without repercussion by even Ford who only acknowledges dealer corruption is rapid, will obviously lead to missed payments by their customers. Ford also feels confident that they can pass blame to the customers forced to miss payments, by accusing customers of being paper dolls with obvious advantage at time of agreement with over valued credit scores. Although not yet a reality Ford is confident they soon face untold customer hardships forced to choose between eating dinner or delaying payment on their obligation to finance the Ford in their driveway.

    Mabey instead of giving Ford excisive rights to claim exclusive rights to a system with no more innovation,complication, or investment other cost to gain legal blessing and exclusive rights to make simple software updates to aid in efficient effortless retrieval of products from their starving customers, Ford should face public if not legal scrutiny regarding making financial agreements to sell their hyper overvalued product to customers immediatly accused of holding overvalued credit scores leaving Ford no other option than seeking proprietary market control for Ford to literally blow their own horn!!! As Ford has already threatened its starving customers of first useing their product as leverage to intimidate their customers by pattented use of random unstoppiable blowing horns from their own products .Blowing horns would no longer be ignored nuisance proving car owner couldn't figure out cars useless alarm feature. It would become fords first innovation to industry in close to a century. And would now become the dreaded racket emanating from a Ford customer already down on their luck and now attempted to be accused of creating the dreaded racket but labeled as lowbrow deadbeats who can't pay their bills. By a patented strategy and proud development by a self proclaimed industry leader who actualy claims this as such a game changing innovation it invest untold recources to devise a plan to lay its sole claim over. How would tesla be recieved if they made same announcement? My guess is it would lead the evening news

  45. rcw88

    Connected car? no thanks...

    This is just the beginning.. a connected car represents 1. A hackers dream 2. A privacy nightmare. 3. A dictators' delight.

    There are enough reports about connected cars getting hacked to disable brakes and simply unlocking them. And Tesla demanding outrageous fees for updating their own cr*p software.

    Now the car's presence can be tracked to within yards - here comes road pricing and really simple speed tracking, if we ever get a lockdown again [AND HOPEFULLY NEVER] - we know where you've been, when and for how long.

    If a dictator decides you cannot drive, your car is disabled, where-ever you are.

    If you don't pay your taxes, play nice with the dictatorship, you are now stuffed.

    So don't EVER take your freedom for granted, after the past three years we need a concerted effort to tell Governments and manufacturers to stick their connected car concepts right in the bin.

    NCAP ratings already punish cars for not having techology that doesn't actually work very well - collision avoidance for example.

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