The patent, published online last week, focuses on detecting vehicle users and spraying their favorite scent throughout the cabin. The system would work by detecting the driver’s or passenger’s phone and spraying their preferred scent in advance. The system would also deodorize the car when they leave.
However, it is not this aspect of the system which has garnered the most attention. Instead, it is the patent’s explanation that if the car detects an illegitimate engine start attempt, tear gas can be sprayed into the cabin to stop would-be thieves from making off with the vehicle.
Other car manufacturers offer various pleasant scents which occupants can select, but the system described in this patent appears to represent the first time a car manufacturer has attempted to weaponize such a system.
Owning a vehicle that releases a pleasant scent throughout the interior every time you jump behind the wheel sounds amazing. However, we’re not so sure we’d be that keen on owning a Toyota that has a can of tear gas inside the ventilation system.
What if the system mistakes you for a thief and sprays tear gas in your face? What if the tear gas is released inadvertently during a crash? Both scenarios would play on our minds each and every time we were driving the vehicle.
Of course, just because Toyota has patented the system, it doesn’t mean it intends on introducing it. If it does happen though, we imagine that enjoyable fragrances would be introduced well before the tear gas function.