Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: US Patent and Trademark Office | posted May 23, 2016 11:01
Google patents new hood adhesive for self-driving cars
It's no secret that one of Google's self-driving cars has been involved in a minor incident with a bus several months ago. So far however, the autonomous vehicles have yet to cause an accident involving pedestrians.
As a way to reduce injuries in case self-driving cars were to collide with people, Google recently patented a new kind of adhesive that will stick pedestrians to the hood of the car. According to the company, the sticky adhesive will work like flypaper or double-sided duct tape and is covered in an egg-shell like coating that will only break when a pedestrian hits it on impact.
Aside from softening the blow of the impact, it will also prevent the pedestrian from flying off in front of the car, preventing further injuries. Google added that the adhesive coating can be applied not only on the hood, but also to the car's front bumper and fenders which will ensure that any pedestrian will be safely stuck to the car.
When it comes to removing the stuck pedestrian, Google said that it will also come with a 'releasable adhesive' which would allow the pedestrian to free themselves from the car.
Currently, some automakers like Volvo and Jaguar have safety tech that reduces the risk of fatalities and critical injuries. The Swedish automaker makes use of pedestrian air bags which deploy in an event a pedestrian is struck. On the other hand, some Jaguar models have explosive charges under the hood which raises the hood by a few inches, softening the impact.
Google however stressed that the new patent does not necessarily mean it will be applied soon.
“We hold patents on a variety of ideas," she said. "Some of those ideas later mature into real products and services, some don't,” said a Google spokesperson.