Tags: google | pedestrian | glue | self driving car

Google Pedestrian Glue Would Stick Collision Victims to Self-Driving Cars

Image: Google Pedestrian Glue Would Stick Collision Victims to Self-Driving Cars
This diagram from a patent granted May 17 to Google shows how a pedestrian hit by a self-driving car would remain stuck to the front of the vehicle with glue, theoretically to prevent further injuries from being carried along and then thrown. (Google, U.S. Patent Office)

By    |   Friday, 20 May 2016 10:53 AM

Google has received a patent making it possible for a pedestrian to become glued to one of its self-driving vehicles, instead of bouncing off, during an accidental collision.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that the glue is seen as a way to reduce collision injuries between self-driving vehicles and pedestrians until the technology improves to the point where the vehicles can "avoid all accidents," Google said in its patent.

"The front region of the vehicle may be coated with a specialized adhesive that adheres to a pedestrian, and thus holds the pedestrian on the vehicle in the unfortunate event that the front of the vehicle comes into contact with the pedestrian," the patent stated. "The adhesion of the pedestrian to the vehicle may prevent the pedestrian from bouncing off."

The Google patent did not mention what kind of glue would be strong enough to act as human flypaper, but Rebecca Thompson, of the American Physical Society, told the website Gizmodo that the plan, in theory, isn't a bad idea.

"Getting hit by a car once is much preferable to getting hit by a car and then the ground and then another car," Thompson said to Gizmodo. "Cyclists wear helmets not as much to prevent their head's impact with the car as much as their head's impact with the ground when they fall."

Thompson went on to say, though, that a pedestrian or cyclist stuck to a vehicle may prevent it from moving to a safe area or even drag humans, forcing their legs and arms to get caught under the vehicle, causing additional injuries.

Bryant Walker Smith, an autonomous car expert and law professor at Stanford University, told the Mercury News that Google should be given credit for having forethought about how pedestrians could be impacted by self-driving vehicles.

"The idea that cars should be safe for people other than the ones in them is the next generation of automotive safety," Smith told the newspaper. "Manufacturers have gotten remarkably good at protecting the occupants of the vehicle, but there's been much less attention to protecting the people outside. I applaud anybody for thinking, as they should, about people outside of the vehicle."

Smith, though, agreed with Thompson that sticking humans and cyclists on to a moving vehicle could create other unforeseen problems.

"The history of progress is replacing one set of problems with another set of problems and just really hoping that your new set of problems in aggregate is less than your original problem," Smith said.

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Google has received a patent making it possible for a pedestrian to become glued to one of its self-driving vehicles, instead of bouncing off, during an accidental collision.
google, pedestrian, glue, self driving car
418
2016-53-20
Friday, 20 May 2016 10:53 AM
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