Some of us still like to live by the motto that manual transmissions defer car theft—a good, if dying, sentiment. But most don’t subscribe to that mindset, so it’s about time automakers come up with a new one. Perhaps that’s why Toyota just filed for a vehicle fragrance dispenser with a tear-gas setting.
Nothing like some good ol’ tear gas in place of that third pedal, right?
CNET found a Toyota patent from March 7 for just that. The patent is mainly for a fragrance dispenser that can spray different fragrances based on the person it identifies as being in the car, as well as deodorizers when the person gets out in order to set the car up for the next smell. But it isn’t just about fragrances. If the car decides there’s been an “illegitimate engine start attempt,” it can whack the person attempting to start the engine in the face with some tear gas.
The system’s ability to spray the car with deodorizers and different scents for different people—which is a little excessive, really, but automaker patents are often just thought exercises—seems to base the scent choices off of the phones it recognizes in the car. If phones with different preferred scents are in the car, the idea is for the system to send a message asking which fragrance to use.
The patent said the release of tear gas would be based on the car’s immobilizer, a system that’s been around for a while. It basically keeps a vehicle from being started without the key around, by hot wiring or other means, so a friend using keys to move your car in the driveway shouldn’t come back screaming in pain.
Theft deterrent or not, cruising around in a car ready to pepper the cabin with tear gas at any moment can make anyone imagine the worst possible scenario. It’s a good thing patents are just that—patents—and that there are less painful ways of discouraging vehicle theft out there, like extra pedals and shifters with numbers instead of letters on them. All we have to do is buy more of them.