Tuesday 24 May 2016

Google Patents ‘Sticky’ Cars to Save Pedestrians hit by Driverless Vehicles


Google’s Driverless Cars – Safer than Humans

Google has stated that its driverless cars would be several times safer than humans vividly reducing the millions of road accidents which are seen every year. However, it does not mean that they will not hit someone and many times accidents could be inevitable. Google has patented a design for sticky layer on the front of a car which would tend to defend pedestrians when they get hit by a vehicle. Google’s self-driving vehicles would soon be catching pedestrians like flies which as per the patent granted recently tends to act like flypaper and instead of bodies bouncing off a car and resulting in further injury when hit; they would stay stuck to the vehicle till it slows down and stops.

These vehicles are fitted with sensors, clever lane mapping and networking in order that the vehicles can stay away from obstacles much better than human and also park accurately. The patent reads that `in case of an accident between the vehicle and the pedestrian, injury to the pedestrian takes place not only due to the impact of the vehicle as well as the pedestrian but also by the secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or any other object. The adhesive bonds the pedestrian to the vehicle in order that the pedestrian remains with the vehicle till it stops and is not thrown from the vehicle’.

Work as Human Flypaper

The technology which has been awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO tends to work as human flypaper wherein the front bumper, hood and the side panels of the car would be enclosed with the sticky coating. Whenever a pedestrian is hit, the protective layer would break apart and trap the pedestrian and save the person from be sent skywards which could cause injuries.

It is said that the adhesive layer would cover the complete front area of the car, though would itself be underneath a special coating only activated in case of a collision, preventing bugs, leaves and other deposits from getting stuck to the car.Google’s fleet of 57 self-driving cars had covered over 1.5 million autonomous miles and had been involved in many collisions, most of which have been other drivers rear-ending the vehicles.

Bryant Walker Smith, self-driving car expert and Affiliate Scholar with Stanford Law School’s Centre for Internet and Society informed The Mercury News that there is another issue utilising sticky cars – What if the person tends to obscures the view of the driver thereby resulting in them crashing into another surface or vehicle?

Company Has Targeted 2020 for Public

However, Smith admired Google for its solution. He said that the idea that cars need to be safe for people other than the ones in them is the next generation of automotive safety and I applaud anyone for thinking as they should about people outside the vehicle. As a target date for being made available, the company has targeted 2020 for the public though they still tend to have many technical as well as legal challenges to overcome. Apple, Tesla, Uber together with other has been involved in driverless car research with many trials underway in the UK. Members of the public now can sign up to the first trials to be in London.

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