Google received a patent earlier this week for a new safety measure on their self-driving cars. They describe their new idea as “an adhesive layer positioned on the front end of the vehicle” so that a pedestrian will stick to the vehicle after a collision. They haven’t come up with an affectionate name for it yet, but it’s basically sticky fly paper for humans. The adhesive is intended to reduce the chance of secondary injury by keeping the struck pedestrian from being thrown off of the car and onto the road.
Despite how silly it sounds, it does have the right intentions. Keeping the struck individual from being thrown forward (potentially in front of another car) or being pulled under the car that just hit them could help reduce further injury. Like most security measures, it does have it’s side effects. After a collision with a pedestrian, if that car were to continue moving and subsequently hit another solid object, that could bring greater harm to that pedestrian than if they were to simply have been thrown off to the side in the first place.
But of course, the existence of this patent doesn’t necessarily mean that they are working on bringing this to the public anytime soon, or at all. Google holds many patents for ideas that never matured into real products or services. We’ll just have to wait and see what they do with their sticky pedestrian-paper.
What other issues do you see with this idea? Do you think this is a good step forward for vehicle safety?