Google has patented a new “sticky” technology to protect pedestrians if – or when – they get struck by the company’s self-driving cars.
“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.
The patent describes itself as specifically aimed at self driving cars but notes that it can be used on any vehicle.
Car companies have already taken steps to protect pedestrians from impact. Citroen and Jaguar use a device that raises the car’s bonnet 6.5cm on impact to provide a cushion for impact between the crumpling surface and the solid engine block beneath. Others, such as Land Rover and Volvo, have developed outside airbags that deploy on impact to protect a pedestrian from injury.