Toyota patents tear gas system to deter thieves

The Toyota Motor Corporation has filed a patent for a tear gas system to combat car thieves.

According to the recently published application filed at the US Patent and Trademark office, this unconventional Toyota anti theft device will fill the car with tear gas via its air ventilation system if it is unable to detect the presence of its key fob when the engine is started.

The Toyota patent filed in August details the use of chloroacetophenone, more commonly referred to as CN gas and a substance used predominantly as an agent in riot control situations. The gas works by stimulating the nerves of the lacrimal glands of each eye to produce tears incapacitating those affected. The results of exposure to tear gas can involve respiratory and eye pain, bleeding, skin irritation and in some cases even blindness.

Unconventional methods of crime prevention

The patent states that a less noxious substance could be dispensed during theft but one which creates a “foul odour”. Once the anti theft device has been activated, it can only be switched off if the car key is present. A failure to pick up the signal from the fob will result in the immobilising agent being released.

The Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer has suggested that the same technology could also be used for less aggressive purposes. After passengers alight from the vehicle, the dispenser system could release a perfumed scent deodorising the car so it stays fresh when boarded again.

This is not a new idea, however. German automobile marque Mercedes Benz works closely with the futurologist Sabine Engelhardt ,who perfumes its vehicles. Owners of these luxury cars can choose from a selection of scents, which are then pumped into their vehicle via the air vents.

Patents of the future

The Toyota patent may come as a surprise to some as the automaker headquartered in Toyota City has a reputation for conservatism when it comes to new technology in its vehicles. However, this is not the only unusual patent they have filed recently. In 2018, the Japanese manufacturer filed a patent in the US for an electric flying car with a helicopter rotor blade stored within its wheels.

Although the patent is legitimate, it has not yet been confirmed that this technology will be fitted in Toyota vehicles going forward. The company may be put off including it because of the risk of malfunctions and the law suits that could arise in such cases.