Even the most advanced vehicle alarm systems with GPS tracking or kill switches; or even GPS tracking with electronic kill switches, might be able to deter thieves from stealing the vehicle but you know what technology hasn’t been able to avert yet? The wheels and tyres being stolen with the cars left on bricks.
There’s an indescribable kind of pain in seeing a car with its disc brakes sitting on bricks. Yes, there are special lock nuts which only a special adapter or key can loosen but every time you lose the adapter and head to your local tyre shop to have them open it, they simply whip one out from a box of random nuts and pop your wheels off. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the technology.
Well, apparently Ford isn’t quite sold on that too. So, the carmaker made its own special nuts. Ford has developed a unique 3D-printed locking wheel nut made with a pattern carved from the owner’s voice biometric signature.
Working with industrial 3D printing supplier EOS, Ford created the locking wheel nut with unique contours from the owner’s voice scan. Voice biometric signatures are as unique and distinctive as that from a thumbprint or iris scan so it should be pretty impossible to replicate.
Engineers will record the driver saying a phrase and convert the soundwave into a physical pattern that is rounded into a circle and 3D printed as the indentation and key on the locking nut. The nut and key are designed as a single piece before being 3D printed using acid and corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
To prevent thieves from getting their dirty hands on the nut and making a wax imprint, the nut features unevenly spaced ribs and indentations that would break the wax if you tried to… wax your nuts.
Ford says that the pattern isn’t restricted to the voice biometric signature. Owners can opt to use any unique pattern such as their initials or a logo of the car.
While this neat, new feature isn’t available for sale yet, expect it to be available for high end Ford models such as the Mustang GT500 if it ever does come to a showroom near you due to the still-exorbitant cost of 3D printing as well as the exotic carbon fibre wheels on the supercar-killer.