When a car hits a pedestrian, they can fly off and hit another object or, worse, get run over. These secondary impacts – after an accident – can be comparable or even more serious than being hit by the car in the first place.
To reduce secondary impact injuries, Google filed a patent for a sticky technology to protect struck pedestrians.
Google’s patent, which works like human fly paper, acts like an adhesive layer for the front-end of a vehicle. When a pedestrian hits the front, they stick to the hood of the car instead of being thrown off.
The patent states: “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.”
Improving Pedestrian Safety
Google intends its patent design for self-driving vehicles, but human-controlled cars can utilize the technology, as well. That’s a good thing, considering pedestrian accidents increased 10 percent in 2015. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association blames the increase on drivers and walkers being distracted by cell phones.
Figures for 2016 paint a more dire picture. San Antonio reported a 40 percent rise in pedestrian deaths. Minnesota says pedestrian deaths by cars in 2016 reached a 25-year high.
Preventing even a percentage of those tragedies would be a huge leap forward for pedestrian safety, which account for about 15 percent of all motor vehicle crash-related deaths.
But, if Google’s patent makes the hood act like scotch tape, what if other objects hit the front-end of the car? To keep small objects like bugs and dirt from fastening to the hood, the sticky surface will come with a protective layer over it. That layer breaks when a heavier object – like a human – hits it.
“A protective coating is positioned over the adhesive layer. Upon impact with a pedestrian, the coating is broken exposing the adhesive layer.”
No word on what happens if a driverless car hits a deer.
Article written by MG Rhodes. Submitted: 3/10/17
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