California: Seems like there won’t be a ‘hit and run’ case for Google’s self-driving cars! The tech giant has patented a technology that puts an adhesive layer in front of the car and if the self-driving car happens to hit a pedestrian, the person will get stuck to the car instantly, thereby obviating dangers like getting flung under another vehicle. The person will stay stuck until the car draws to a halt.
According to the patent, “Ideally, 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. 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.”
The patent describes itself as specifically aimed at self-driving cars but notes that it can be used on any vehicle.
Car companies have already taken steps to protect pedestrians from impact. Citroen and Jaguar use a device that raises the car’s bonnet 6.5cm on impact to provide a cushion for impact between the crumpling surface and the solid engine block beneath. Others, such as Land Rover and Volvo, have developed outside airbags that deploy on impact to protect a pedestrian from injury.