Ford has filed a patent to allow self-driving cars to walk away from their owners

Cars with electronics are nothing new, but as advanced technology like artificial intelligence and “always connected” systems begin to be incorporated into vehicles, we’re starting to see the auto industry consider how far it can push this hardware. The most egregious recent example has been the efforts of BMW nickel and dime customers of her expensive cars (opens in new tab) with microtransactions (which led rather brilliantly to car owners hacking the features of their vehicles (opens in new tab)), but now the Ford Motor Company is saying hold my beer.

Ford filed for a US patent in August 2021, which was published last week on February 23 (thanks, TheDrive (opens in new tab)). It is said “Systems and Methods for Recovering a Vehicle” (opens in new tab) and delves into a proposed system that would allow Ford, in cases where customers fall behind on payments, to gradually reduce the car’s functionality and make the owner’s life miserable, before, in extreme scenarios, the car is simply… towed away to recovery lot or dump.

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