Published: May 23, 2016
Google has found a new way to keep pedestrians safe from its autonomous cars. The company has filed a patent meant to protect pedestrians in the event they’re hit by a car where the person would be stuck to an adhesive on the hood of the car on impact, which would prevent them from bouncing off the car and sustaining even more injuries. The patent describes an “eggshell-like” coating on the hood. When hit, it would then crack and reveal the adhesive.
Bryant Smith, an autonomous car expert with the Stanford School of Law, praised Google for thinking of the safety of people outside the car. “Manufacturers have gotten remarkably good at protecting the occupants of the vehicle, but there’s been much less attention to protecting the people outside,” Smith said.
Monash University’s Maxwell Cameron, a road safety expert, says that while there have been developments in car manufacturing to protect pedestrians — such as bonnets that are more pliable upon impact — the focus has generally been on the car’s occupants.
Google specifically mentions self-driving cars in its patent, acknowledging that “on occasion, collisions between a vehicle and a pedestrian still occur” despite them working towards smart cars that can prevent collisions. The company also says in the human flypaper patent that autonomous cars will eventually be able to avoid all accidents.
Source: The Verge