Google has patented a new “sticky” technology to protect pedestrians if – or when – they get struck by the company’s self-driving cars.
The patent, which was granted on 17 May, is for a sticky adhesive layer on the front end of a vehicle, which would aim to reduce the damage caused when a pedestrian hit by a car is flung into other vehicles or scenery.
“Ideally, the adhesive coating on the front portion of the vehicle may be activated on contact and will be able to adhere to the pedestrian nearly instantaneously,” according to the patent description.
“This instantaneous or nearly-instantaneous action may help to constrain the movement of the pedestrian, who may be carried on the front end of the vehicle until the driver of the vehicle (or the vehicle itself in the case of an autonomous vehicle) reacts to the incident and applies the brakes.”
“As such,” it continues, “both the vehicle and pedestrian may come to a more gradual stop than if the pedestrian bounces off the vehicle.”