Thursday, May 30, 2024

Missed your car’s EMI? Your car might shut down!

Pooja Banga

Ford Motor Co. is known to spend billions of dollars annually in research and development. This year is no different, as it has come up with a groundbreaking patent idea that has the potential to remotely shut down your car if the EMI is missed. The patent on the technology allows the company to remotely disable a car’s engine or accelerator and bring it to a halt, as well as disable the radio or air conditioning, in case of a missed car payment. It may also trigger and generate a persistent beeping sound until you pay your car’s EMIs, just like an alarm clock keeps on blinking unless you snooze it or wake up. 

According to Cox Auto, owing to stressed household finances, there has been a rapid increase in vehicle loan defaults. The data suggests that auto loan delinquencies are on the rise, and the number of people who are days behind on their auto loan payments reached its highest level since 2006 in January. Well, this is not the first time that technology has been used to protect auto companies from delinquencies and struggles related to payments. Ford has filed an extensive technology patent that enables them to disable certain functions, causing discomfort to the driver and persuading them to pay car loan EMIs in a timely fashion.

“It really seems like you’re opening up a can of worms that, as a manufacturer, you don’t really need to be doing,” said John Van Alst, a senior attorney working with the National Consumer Law Center.

Amidst all this brouhaha over this billion-dollar automaker’s patent that got published last month, one of the spokespersons of the Ford company, a Michigan based automaker, stated in an email that “Ford has no plans to deploy this. 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.” Overall, more than 1,300 patents were sanctioned to Ford in the year 2022 as part of unique automotive technologies in order to accelerate a culture of innovation, the automaker added.

There have been multiple instances when a consumer doesn’t acknowledge a notice of an overdue car payment and the car companies have to bear the brunt of the negligence and the lack of responsiveness. Ford’s patent application for repossession linked technology will be a game changer in the field of the automobile industry. After the arrival of this patent, skipping car payments can make you remorseful and regretful. Right from cruise control to automated windows, essential car functions could be sternly disabled for turning a blind eye to an overdue car payment. In addition to cruise control and automated windows, Ford could even lock the owner out of the vehicle and shut down the accelerator or the engine completely.

Buying an electric vehicle is always a thrill! However, Ford’s futuristic technology that allows financial institutions and lenders to control the vehicle and repossess the car in times of auto loan defaults could send a scrupulous dread to car owners who default on auto loan payments. It’s a not-so-flattering car repossession tactic, and this might make it relatively easy for lenders with an average reputation for repossessions to steal the limelight from the reputed lenders. Furthermore, in modern times like today where time management is of crucial importance (time is the only thing that you don’t get back), the sudden shutting down of your electric self-driving car could lead to less productive and proactive actions. 

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