While Google’s self-driving cars have an excellent safety record, that record isn’t quite perfect, and the company wants to do all it can to protect pedestrians should one be hit by a car.

A previous Google patent described a combination of foam bumpers and external airbags to minimize injuries to pedestrians in the event of a collision, but a new patent spotted by Mercury News swaps out the airbags for an adhesive coating intended to act as human flypaper …


While external airbags are already used on some existing cars, the patent notes that it is often secondary injuries that do the most harm, when the pedestrian is thrown from the car. The patent is for a self-adhesive coating designed to ensure that the pedestrian sticks to the car rather than being thrown onto the road.

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 adhesive would release ‘after a period of time’ so that the pedestrian isn’t turned into a permanent hood ornament, and it would be covered in a thin eggshell-like cover that would instantly shatter on impact to ensure that the sticky surface doesn’t end up coating the car in bugs and dust as it drives along.

Via The Verge

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