Toyota has developed a fragrance system for its vehicles that, instead of providing a pleasant smelling ambience for occupants, can do the complete opposite.
While conventional in-car fragrance systems have been around for some time, a car manufacturer has never thought to use the system in such a sinister way. That is, until Toyota filed a patent that can determine “illegitimate engine starts”, like those when a car is stolen, and subsequently release a tear gas component inside the vehicle to fend off would-be car thieves.
Toyota describes the patent itself rather innocently: “a vehicle fragrance dispenser that may identify an occupant and releasing a fragrance associated with the occupant.”
As you can see in the patent diagram, it includes an immobiliser, transceiver device, fragrance controller and fragrance generator. A little more high tech than the traditional tree-shaped, pine-smelling rear-view mirror hanger, then.
The patent also includes claims that the fragrance dispenser can also distribute a number of other different perfumes, dependent on pre-selected vehicle occupant preferences. The system does this by communicating with your phone’s mobile signals and recognising a specific smell paired to that phone and then dispensing it throughout the vehicle. This can be done in advance of a driver jumping into the car too, so you’ve got a nice smell to greet you.
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The fragrance generator also includes a deodoriser which can rid the car of certain smells, or to deactivate the last fragrance remaining in the car. Could be particularly handy for that post-beach “wet dog” smell too.
There’s no word as yet whether Toyota will actually include this fragrance system in its cars, but at least they’re thinking of innovative ways to combat car thieves.