Toyota Patents A Fragrance Dispenser That Hits Car Thieves With A Faceful Of Tear Gas

Or, if you're supposed to be in the car, a whiff of fresh pine

2019 Toyota RAV4 Adventure
Would-be car thieves beware: Toyota has an idea to really put you in your place, through a helping of tear gas. [Photo: Toyota]

On the up side, it also dispenses normal perfumes.

If you’ve ever had your car stolen, you know that wave of emotions that soon follows. The anguish of your car no longer sitting where you parked it, the panic as you call the police. Then, the feeling of anger bubbling beneath the skin that soon boils into a white-hot rage directed at the car thief.

Toyota has come up with a solution for those of us pissed off at car thieves out there — hitting them with a faceful of tear gas. No, really: The company filed a patent for a “vehicle fragrance dispenser”. It sounds innocuous enough, with phrases like “a fragrance generation section configured to perfume air within a vehicle using one of a plurality of different perfumes.” The patent application even describes dispensing different perfumes depending on who is identified in the car based off data from their smartphone.

But here’s the section where Toyota goes from pleasant fragrances to straight up hitting car thieves with a dollop of tear gas:

Toyota patents idea for tear gas fragrance dispenser
[Photo: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office]

“…the fragrance generation section is configured to release a tear gas component inside the vehicle; and the controller controls the fragrance generation section to release the tear gas component inside the vehicle in a case in which an illegitimate engine start has been detected by an immobilizer of the vehicle (emphasis added).”

Yep, Toyota really filed a patent application for a fragrance dispenser that dispenses tear gas. So if you get in the car with your smartphone, you’ll get a nice spritz of pine or fresh linen. If it detects an “illegitimate engine start” — in other ones, some jerk trying to steal your car — they get a nice helping of mace.

It’s just a patent application, and will probably stay that way

I’d love to say, “If you have a bone to pick with car thieves, Toyota has your back”, but it’s unlikely this will ever see production. I know where your mind went the first time you hit “tear gas”. What happens if you accidentally get in the car without your phone or try to start the car and forgot your key? The answer: A (potential) faceful of tear gas. Not exactly the way I’d want to start my morning commute.

Nonetheless, as we’re losing the clutch pedal as a deterrent for moronic car thieves, this came across to me as a brilliant idea. For those of you who want to rain vengeance on those who try to make off with your pride and joy, it may also be appealing.

At the end of the day, barring the legal nightmare Toyota could face if this accidentally went off in an owner’s face, we’ll likely just end up with the fragrance dispenser instead. Then you’ll just be able to cover up the smells of that one friend who insists on eating a burrito on a long road trip. In that case, you might as well be hit in the face with tear gas.