A new patent would see would-be thieves get gassed out if they try to steal a Toyota car.
There have been a lot of anti-theft measures installed in cars over the years, from steering wheel immobilizers to tracking devices that connect to cellular networks. But Toyota’s latest patent is probably the most extreme anti-theft device installed in a car that we’ve ever seen.
What Toyota describes as a “vehicle fragrance dispenser” in their patent application, it can be used both to provide passengers a pleasant olfactory experience or it can be used to deter a car thief.
Here’s how it works. A computer installed in the car pairs with an app on their owner’s smartphones and whoever else is authorized as a passenger. When the driver or passengers enter the car, a pre-set odor is dispensed to welcome them. Toyota doesn’t specifically state what smells will be available, but we’re hoping it’s freshly baked brownies combined with vanilla cafe latte.
But what if someone with the wrong phone tries to get behind the wheel? Or worse, no phone? Then the system identifies that someone is trying to start the car without authorization and immobilizes the vehicle. And those fragrance dispensers? They start pumping tear gas into the cabin.
Toyota’s patent also includes a “deodorizer” so that the system removes smells as well as adds them, but tear gas is notoriously hard to wash out of fabrics. One hopes that this deodorizer is extremely potent to deal with a tear-gassed interior.
There’s also a bit of a question as to why bother with the tear gas if the car is already immobilized? And why can’t it just be a particularly foul smell, such as day-old farts or moldy egg-salad sandwiches?
It seems unlikely that Toyota will ever implement this system in their car, but you never know. Car thieves had better bring gas masks on their next heist.