Main menu


The Pros and Cons of FoMoCo's Innovative Self-Repossessing Vehicle System

With cars becoming increasingly connected and autonomous, it was only a matter of time before car manufacturers started to leverage that technology for their own benefit. The Ford Motor Company (FoMoCo) recently patented a system for self-repossessing vehicles, which has some people asking if this is the future of repo?

FoMoCo's patent granted in 2020 proposes putting self-repossession systems into new cars to allow the manufacturer or leasing company to take back the vehicle without involving a third party. It's important to understand both the pros and cons of this new system before passing judgment—so let's dive into some of the details here. We'll look at how FoMoCo is applying this technology, as well as how its use may impact consumers and leasing companies.


The Pros and Cons of FoMoCo's
Car and Driver

Overview of FoMoCo's Self-Repossessing Vehicle System

Ford recently filed a patent with the USPTO for systems and methods that aid in vehicle repossession. The patent is pending for a process that allows cars to repossess themselves when delinquent owners ignore car payment warnings. This is something very new in the automotive industry and has both advantages and disadvantages.

At its core, the system uses more advanced autonomous technology to allow the vehicle to self drive itself to the lending company or repo lot when it detects a missed payment. This would reduce the need for costly manual repossession efforts by Ford, as well as potentially reducing repossession costs for borrowers. It also allows borrowers more time to arrange payments rather than having their car disappear from their driveway overnight.

On the flip side, however, this system could be considered an invasion of privacy and security of people’s homes. Additionally, giving a vehicle this technology presents multiple cyber security threats – if a malicious hacker gains access to this technology, they could take control of the vehicle or use its autonomous capabilities in illegal activities.

Advantages of the Self-Repossessing Vehicle System

Do you want to learn more about FoMoCo's innovative self-repossessing vehicle system? Let's start by looking at the advantages.

One of the biggest benefits of Ford's system is its ability to remotely disable functions such as air conditioning, making it impossible for a borrower to evade repossession. This is especially useful if a borrower lives in an area with extreme temperatures. Of course, remote disabling is also great for preventing theft.

Lending institutions also have the ability to analyze the market value of a vehicle when deciding whether or not to repossess it. This means they can make an informed decision based on current market conditions, leading to better financial outcomes.

Finally, vehicles equipped with advanced autonomous tech can be programmed to drive themselves back to either the lending company or a repo lot. This eliminates the need for drivers and manual labor, ultimately reducing overhead costs associated with traditional repossession processes.

Disadvantages of the Self-Repossessing Vehicle System

If you're thinking that there must be some cons associated with Ford's self-repossessing vehicle system, you're right. There are several disadvantages and potential issues that the system could cause.

Potential distress to customers

Most obviously, the system could cause distress to customers who feel like their car is being taken away from them without warning. Not only will this leave people without a vehicle, but it could lead to a lot of confusion and extra time spent trying to get their car back. Plus, it might be especially hard on people who have bad credit or have let their payments slip — something that's more common during COVID-19 since so many people have lost their jobs.

Potentially difficult for customers to pay off loan debt

Additionally, if a customer's vehicle has been repossessed without warning, it could make it more difficult for them to pay off any loan debt they might owe — because the car is already gone. So if someone is already behind on payments, they'll need to find another way to get caught up — which definitely won't be fun or easy.

Repossession regardless of payment status

On top of all that, another issue with Ford's self-repossessing vehicle system is that it could potentially be used by less scrupulous dealerships or lenders to repossess vehicles even if the customer is up-to-date on payments — which isn't really fair.

How Does the System Work?

Have you ever wondered how Ford's self-repossessing vehicles work? Well, its actually pretty impressive. It all starts when the vehicle's owner is delinquent on loan payments. The system will then correspond with the lender to determine the location of the vehicle and estimate its worth on the market. Once it has this information, it will then instruct the vehicle to drive itself either to the lending company or a repo lot.

And that's not all! Here's a look at some of the key components of FoMoCo’s self-repossessing vehicle system:

  • Wi-Fi device: This device receives wireless signals from either a remote server or directly from the lender's computer system

  • Automated control system: This allows for automated communication between a car and Ford’s central system

  • GPS receiver: It helps pinpoint exactly where the car is located

  • Onboard camera: An onboard camera records images of any incidents that may have happened when it was being repossessed

  • Autonomous navigation systems: This technology allows the car to drive itself, even in challenging conditions and busy traffic areas

Ford's innovative self-repossessing vehicle system combines these features with other technologies like ultrasonic sensors and lane departure warnings that help make sure that everything runs smoothly and safely for everyone involved—including both drivers and passengers!

Potential Risks Associated With the System

In as much as it sounds like an innovative and convenient way of repossessing vehicles, this system might not be without its potential risks.

Vehicle Security

The repossession system's computer could first have a little chat with the bank's computer, thus allowing it access to the necessary information about the wayward car. This could potentially open up compromises for vehicle security and might make your car more vulnerable to attacks from third-party hackers.

System Malfunctioning

Another risk might be if the system malfunctions. The system would be able to “disable a functionality of a component of the vehicle or may place the vehicle in a lockout condition” which has potential legal implications in different parts of the world. As such, there needs to be reliable safety nets in place to ensure that these systems do not malfunction, or else they will start causing more harm than they are intended to help prevent.

Finally, users should also be wary that these systems could be used by financiers or creditors to arbitrarily repossess vehicles when a borrower falls behind on loan payments, leading to heavy losses and unwanted consequences for unsuspecting users.

What Are the Implications for the Future?

As you can imagine, Ford's patent for a self-repossessing vehicle system raises many questions about what the future holds. The patent pending provides creditors broad new remote access to vehicles, and with such powerful technology, how this will be regulated remains to be seen.

On one hand, it could mean stricter enforcement of automobile financing terms, making sure borrowers stay on track with their payments. On the other hand, it can create a whole slew of privacy issues. Will lenders have the capability to use GPS technology or monitor data such as odometer readings or driving habits? What happens if the system malfunctions?

It's clear that Ford's innovative repo system has created a spark of controversy among consumers and policymakers alike. While the technology may give creditors more options for collecting on delinquent accounts, its implications are far-reaching and need to be carefully measured.


In conclusion, FoMoCo's self-repossessing vehicle system offers both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, the technology can be beneficial for both car manufacturers and customers, offering a more secure, efficient, and cost-effective system for loan payments and repossessions. On the other hand, this system raises ethical issues of potential surveillance and privacy infringement.

Ultimately, it will remain to be seen if this new technology will be accepted and implemented by the public and how it will affect the auto industry. As technology advances, it is becoming increasingly important to address the ethical implications of new inventions and ask ourselves whether this new system is really worth the cost, both in terms of privacy and morality.


table of contents title