From struck to stuck! Google patents a protective 'flypaper' coating that will keep pedestrians on the hood after getting hit by a self-driving car
- Protective coating would cover car's hood, front bumper and side panels
- Pedestrian would remain stuck to the hood until the car stops moving
- The adhesive would be protected by another coating that would shatter from the impact of a collision
- Google notes in the patent that pedestrians' injuries often come from the 'secondary impact' of hitting the road or another car after an accident
Google has come up with a way to keep pedestrians who are hit by self-driving cars off the road... and stuck to the hood.
The company has received a new patent for a protective coating on the car's hood, front bumper and front side panels that would act as flypaper, taking the pedestrian from struck to stuck.
Google explains that when pedestrians are struck by cars, injury comes not only from the initial impact with the vehicle - but from the 'secondary impact' when they hit the road or another car.
The adhesive coating Google has proposed would be covered by another 'protective coating' that would shatter from the impact of a collision, including one involving a person or animal.
That would then expose the adhesive coating, which would bond the pedestrian to the vehicle and keep them from 'bouncing off' into the street and incoming traffic.
'The adhesion of the pedestrian to the vehicle may prevent the pedestrian from bouncing off,' the patent reads.
Google received the patent on Tuesday, acknowledging that technology has not yet developed to the point where self-driving cars will be able to avoid all accidents.
The company acknowledges in the patent that two car companies have developed their own technology in an attempt to protect more pedestrians from cars.
Google notes certain Jaguar models have a deployable hood that comes up several inches in the moment of impact, softening the blow.
And certain European Volvo models has an air bag on the outside of the car, along the base of the windshield, in an effort to protect pedestrians from head injuries, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
But, Google writes in the patent, these technologies only protect pedestrians in the moment of impact.
'Existing technologies found in production vehicles does little to mitigate the secondary impact a pedestrian may experience after during a collision with a vehicle,' the patent reads.
'This secondary impact can often cause severe injuries to the pedestrian, as the road surface or other object does not exhibit any sort of compliance or cushioning as the vehicle front end might.'
Google said the new patent does not necessarily mean the flypaper hood technology is on the way, but it has joined one of many ideas in a future that would include the company's self-driving cars.
'We hold patents on a variety of ideas,' a Google spokeswoman told the paper.
'Some of those ideas later mature into real products and services, some don't.'