While autonomous technology has been improving, one thing that remains unavoidable is accidents. The main problem on the minds of many people is how to get self-driving cars to avoid crashing into pedestrians. Instead of just accident-avoidance technology, Google has also patented a sort of “human flypaper.” Google plans to place a strong adhesive on the hood of a self-driving vehicle and, should a pedestrian be hit, this adhesive would cause pedestrians to stick to the hood and avoid secondary impact.
Google seems to think this is a temporary solution as self-driving technology for accident avoidance improves, “While such systems are being developed, it must be acknowledged that, on occasion, collisions between a vehicle and a pedestrian still occur. Such safety mechanisms may become unnecessary as accident-avoidance technology is being further developed, but at present it is desirable to provide vehicles with pedestrian safety mechanisms.” The goal of this technology would be to reduce injuries sustained from secondary impact. Google describes the adhesive as being, “similar to flypaper or double-sided duct tape.” During most pedestrian accidents, a person is usually struck by a car and thrown elsewhere, such as the street or the roof of the car. This secondary impact that happens is the part of a crash that causes the most injury, therefore Google believes its sticky technology would be quite beneficial. Now you may be thinking, wouldn’t this sort of adhesive just pick up bugs and dirt on every day use? Google explains that instead of having the adhesive out in the open daily, the adhesive layer will be covered by an “eggshell” exterior covering, which would only break upon impact in a crash to reveal the sticky, adhesive layer below and at that time, bond to and protect the pedestrian. However, it seems as though this sticky adhesive technology would only be good for self-driving vehicles, as having a person stick to your hood while you are driving your own car would surely obscure your vision and likely create an even bigger problem.
As for whether this idea will really be actualized, only time will tell. Google explained, “[The company holds patents] on a variety of ideas. Some of those ideas later mature into real products and services, some don’t.”
Article Written by Mila Medonaite for Design Engine on May 24, 2016