SOMEONE AT GOOGLE obviously had too much coffee on their way to Mountain View one morning as the search company has been awarded a patent for a ‘sticky technology’ designed to protect pedestrians struck by driverless cars.
The US Patent and Trademark Office awarded the patent to a technology that adds an adhesive layer to the front of a vehicle and reduces the damage done to a fleshy human if he or she is hit by a robo-car.
As you’ll be able to gather from the patent pictures, the layer would be used effectively to stick people to the bonnet of a car rather than run over them or ram them to the tarmac.
“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’s description.
The idea is that a pedestrian will be carried along ‘safely’ until the self-driving car or its passenger brings the vehicle to a halt and presumably unsticks the bewildered bonnet-rider.
Now, we’re not sure that being walloped by a driverless car and then stuck to it is much better than being hit by one normally. But at least Google is allowing its engineers and designers to unlock the more left-field parts of their imaginations. We’d love to be a fly on the wall at Google’s brainstorming meetings.
We guess it is an evolution of the crumpling bonnets and airbags that carmakers have added to vehicles to reduce the damage a crash causes to other vehicles and pedestrians.
And it’s also evidence that Google has accepted that even the smartest of self-driving cars get involved in the odd fender-bender despite accelerating driverless car tech development and thousands of miles of incident-free autonomous driving. µ
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