Automotive

Google patents safety system that glues pedestrians to cars

Google patents safety system t...
Google has received a patent for a safety system which glues pedestrians to the front of a car after an accident, to avoid further injury from being thrown onto the road
Google has received a patent for a safety system which glues pedestrians to the front of a car after an accident, to avoid further injury from being thrown onto the road
View 1 Image
Google has received a patent for a safety system which glues pedestrians to the front of a car after an accident, to avoid further injury from being thrown onto the road
1/1
Google has received a patent for a safety system which glues pedestrians to the front of a car after an accident, to avoid further injury from being thrown onto the road

Google's autonomous cars have been out and about for years, and so far their track record for safety is looking pretty good. But even for the best robot drivers, accidents do happen, so Google has patented a creative safety feature: an adhesive front end that glues pedestrians to the car in the event of an accident to prevent them bouncing off and further hurting themselves.

The system (which we really hope is called "Gloogle") takes the opposite approach to pedestrian airbags by using an adhesive layer installed into the hood and front side panels of the self-driving cars. This sticky layer would be protected by a thin coating designed to break open on impact. In the unfortunate event that the car collides with a pedestrian, the force cracks the coating, exposes the adhesive and holds the person firmly onto the front of the car, avoiding the secondary impact they could suffer by being thrown onto the road or into another object.

It sounds like an interesting idea, but there are still a few questions left unanswered. What the adhesive itself is made of still seems to be up in the air, with Google canvassing the use of quick-acting, contact, pressure-sensitive and viscous adhesives in the system, as well as the all-important step of ensuring it's a "releasable adhesive so that the colliding object may be decoupled from the adhesive layer after a period of time." When that colliding object happens to be your face, you're going to want it back.

Another point to ponder is if this system would actually prove to be safer than its absence in all situations. If a car hits a pedestrian and then falls off a bridge, for example, there's a definite downside to being glued to the hood.

Of course like many patents, the technology might never materialize, and the patent application acknowledges that even if it does find its way onto the company's autonomous cars, it may only be a stop-gap: "Such safety mechanisms may become unnecessary as accident-avoidance technology is being further developed."

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office via The Mercury News

13 comments
Daishi
The mental picture of this working gave me a laugh.
Sampharo
No. Simply no.
Aside from the obvious technical challenges, simple thought: facing the vehicle during the collision means a faceplant into that sticky substance, probably suffocating the pedestrian to death.
Even if it releases after 10 seconds or whatever, the gloopy glue that filled the nostrils and mouth is enough to block the airways and kill, especially with the panic and shock of the accident.
Robert Walther
Adds a new element to the phrase, "there's Klingons on the starboard bow."
LarryWB
What about impact with a deer or other critters? How do you remove a live animal glued on your car hood?
JPAR
Sounds great, I mean there is no reason at all for adventurous scamps to even consider throwing all manner of objects at the car 'just for fun'!
dleader
Where I live it would be about a 100 times more likely to have some mad animal glued to your hood. If it was a deer with a nice rack maybe you could just leave it there as a hood ornament !
CliffG
Oh my, what a brain worm. I can see contests to see how many pedestrians can be collected before the autonomous car's sensors are sufficiently blocked to prevent continuing. Maybe they should consider simply use spikes. Maybe issue Velcro clothing to everyone, much like David Letterman's suit of Velcro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9uxxqKGmYg
LukeKennethCassonLeighton
there's an additional problem which hasn't been covered - and i'm claiming prior art over this, thanks: if you see it patented, it was published here first, so bugger off anyone thinking it's ok to patent it - whiplash from being stuck to a bonnet would smash your head into the windscreen MUCH harder than if you were able to slide up the bonnet. so, very simple: this is incredibly dangerous.
the solution: airbags on the front of the car. in fact, if you're going to put airbags on the front of the car, don't bother with the glue at all. just use.... more airbags.
you saw it published here first. publicly. so - no patenting of this idea. prior - published - art. priooorr. aaaaart.
kidsandliz
Sounds like this would be more useful to use in amusement park ride, for example, the rollercoaster with no seats. Just glue the person to a sky hook and off you go LOL
Yup bugs, rocks, animals, kids with nothing better to do than bury cars in a parking lot of all sorts of crap, bullies or robbers tossing kids/people on a car hood and then taking advantage of the fact that they can't run away...
What could possibly go wrong? ROTFLMAO
techmanmacho
This has to be THE STUPIDEST idea I have ever heard of. So tell me what happens if say the vehicle runs into another car or a wall after collecting a soft, spongy pedestrian on the front bumper?
Can you say ketchup splatter?!?