When pedestrians are hit by a car, it’s not only the initial impact that causes injury. Quite often, it’s the way they’re sent flying, possibly impacting another object before being flung to the ground. Google thinks it may have the solution. Although its self-driving car aims to be perfectly responsive to road conditions, accidents can and do happen, as self-driving car tests have shown. What if a Google driverless car were to hit a pedestrian?
To deal with this question, Google has patented a sticky adhesive car coating that will keep the pedestrian attached to the car until it comes to a halt. The coating could be used on the front bumper, hood and side panels of its driverless cars and may save pedestrians from injury after an impact. Anyone who has seen how insects and dirt end up stuck to surfaces without the help of adhesives might well wonder if dust, flies and midges wouldn’t be way more likely to end up stuck to the coating, but Google’s patent has the answer to that too.
The adhesive coating would be covered with a fragile, eggshell-like coating that would break on impact, exposing the adhesive, but the coating wouldn’t break when dirt and insects make contact. Although there may be other problems, such as the victim obscuring the driver’s view of the road, Google has been praised for its safety initiative, since most manufacturers only consider driver and passenger safety in the event of accidents.