Google has patented a new ‘sticky’ technology designed to protect pedestrians if they are involved in a collision with a driverless car.
The technology, a sticky adhesive coating that would be applied to the bonnets of vehicles, is designed to minimise the secondary impact of a collision.
The idea is for the adhesive to activate on contact and stick to a pedestrian ‘nearly instantaneously’. Instead of immediately bouncing off the vehicle, the pedestrian would be carried forward until the brakes are applied.
That, the patent description says, could result in the pedestrian coming to a more gradual halt and reduce the chance of injury from secondary contact with the road or even another vehicle.
The patent also says that although specifically designed for self-driving vehicles, the safety feature could be used on any vehicle.
The patent reads: “There are continued efforts to improve vehicle safety, including the development of autonomous vehicle equipped with accident-avoidance systems.
“However, while such systems are still being developed, it must be acknowledged that, on occasion, collisions between a vehicle and pedestrian sill occur. Therefore, it is desirable to provide safety mechanisms that reduce or prevent injury.
“The use of an adhesive coating on the vehicle may further help to prevent or reduce the possibility of a ‘tertiary’ impact in which a pedestrian who has already been involved in a vehicle collision and been vaulted a certain distance and impacted the roadway, once more collides with a nearby vehicle travelling in the same vicinity.
“By adhering the pedestrian to the front of the vehicle, such a tertiary impact, which could lead to severe injury or even death, may be avoided, thus providing for additional pedestrian safety.”
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