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Voice activated locking wheel nuts are actually a thing

Voice activated locking wheel nuts are actually a thing

Have you ever walked up to your car in the morning or after work and found it sitting on bricks? All four of your shiny alloys missing? I have and I know I’m not alone. Buying upgraded or aftermarket alloys is a rite of passage for some drivers, one that can be seriously compromised by the thought of someone stealing them.

Locking wheel nuts, or lug nuts depending on where you live, have been around for years. A single nut on each wheel with a specific pattern that can only be used with a corresponding nut ‘key’. They work to a point but with the ubiquity of the same key being used across manufacturer models, they aren’t exactly secure.

That’s where Ford comes in. They have developed a special 3D printed wheel nut that has a voice print integral to it that is keyed to your voice. The voice print determines the key pattern that means only your unique voice pattern can unlock it. A key is printed alongside those wheel nuts to enable you to be able to change tires in winter or fix a flat.

It’s a little science fiction but Ford seem confident it’s a realistic prospect.

Here’s an explainer video:

Locking wheel nuts

These voice activated locking wheel nuts are still in the prototype stage and will take a while to make it to manufacturing. The ability to 3D print them means they are likely to make it to dealerships at some point in the near future. A voice print can be taken in the dealership during registration and the wheel nuts printed while your car is being prepared. You can keep the nut key safe somewhere in the car until needed.

If you don’t want to use your voice print, you can use a signature or choose a pattern or design instead. It won’t be as secure but, if for some reason you don’t want to speak into a machine, you still have options.

I think this is a genius invention. It should stop all of us looking at parking spaces and wondering if our wheels will still be there when we get back. It should also prevent us having to drive to another parking spot if one looks unsavoury or too risky. Finally, I think it will also stop those nagging doubts about buying aftermarket wheels or even upgraded factory alloys.

Voice activated locking wheel nuts are a small thing that could have a big impact. Hopefully, Ford will introduce them soon so we can all sleep easy at night!

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