Tech giant Google has patented the creation of a special bodywork coating, which would act like flypaper, in order to stop pedestrians bouncing off cars in an event of an accident.
Of course getting hit by a car is a rather unpleasant experience, but what makes it even nastier is the impact of not only the car hitting the person but also the force in which they hit the ground shorty after. Or perhaps getting dragged under the vehicle that’s just struck you.
Google has come up with a way to try and prevent this ‘secondary stage’ of a pedestrian impact. Their plan is to have a protective “eggshell-like” layer, which would break on impact to reveal a sticky surface underneath. Comparing the concept to flypaper, Google says the idea is that the person who is struck would remain stuck to the bonnet, preventing them from bouncing off and causing further injury. The material would then ‘release’ the person shortly after, so that they don’t end up permanently stuck to your bonnet.
The technology is primarily designed for autonomous cars, which should be less likely to strike a pedestrian anyway, however Google believe that the tech is more than likely worthwhile until self-driving vehicles are perfected.
The company said: “There are continued efforts to improve vehicle safety, including the development of autonomous vehicles equipped with accident-avoidance systems that will have the ability to avoid all accidents. However, while such systems are being developed, it must be acknowledged that, on occasion, collisions between a vehicle and a pedestrian still occur.”
Google hasn’t released any official information about the technology at this stage, so whether it will be used on a production vehicle is yet to be known. However, with the level of detail and research that is demonstrated in the patent application confirms that it’s something the technology giant has invested a lot of time and money on.
As to whether or not the ‘sticky bonnet’ idea will be implemented remains in the air as nothing has been confirmed as of yet. However a Google spokesperson said: “We hold patents on a variety of ideas…Some of those ideas later mature into real products and services, some don’t”.
It isn’t just Google who are researching advances in pedestrian safety, as both Volvo and Jaguar has also shown interest in improving road safety with Volvo expressing their thoughts on external airbags.