Google Patents ‘Sticky’ Hood To Capture Pedestrians Like Fly Paper In Self-Driving Car Accidents

Google's taken contingencies for the inevitable day when a self-driving car mows down a pedestrian. To keep injuries to a minimum, Google filed for and was granted a patent for a sort of sticky hood that would grip people who've been hit by an autonomous vehicle. The concept behind it is to prevent people from bouncing off the front of the vehicle and sustaining more damage, whether it's by bouncing off a tree or simply being flung to the concrete.

The patent describes an adhesive layer that's applied to the front end of a vehicle. A special coating is then put on top to prevent the hood from being sticky at all times. Upon initial impact, the coating would break down instantaneously exposing the adhesive layer so that whatever was struck would stick to the hood instead of bouncing around secondary objects like a ping pong ball.

Google Sticky Hood Patent

Google's not the first to consider ways of minimizing injuries to pedestrians involved in automobile accidents.

"Some efforts have been made to provide the mitigation of injury to a pedestrian in a collision with a vehcile. Such systems include a deployable hood featured on certain Jaguar models which raise the hood a certain amount instantaneously upon impact, thus providing a more compliant surface for the pedestrian to impact," Google states in its patent application.

There's also external airbags on the base of the windshield of some Volvo models in Europe. However, neither of these solutions do anything to address secondary injuries, which is what Google's sticky hood focuses on.

Google Self Driving Car

Google has its self-driving cars in mind with this patent, though it also notes that there's nothing stopping this technology from being applied to any type of vehicle.

It should also be mentioned that Google's self-driving cars have a pretty good track record. In over 1.5 million miles of testing, only one accident has been the fault of an autonomous vehicle—a self-driving car changed lanes and bumped into a bus that it assumed was going to slow down.