Google likes to tout that its self-driving cars are much safer than their human-operated counterparts, and now they want to make them even safer, with sticky sandpaper.
The company has patented a “human sandpaper” that would cover the car roof so that in the case of an accident, the pedestrian would stick to the car instead of hitting the ground.
“The adhesive bonds the pedestrian to the vehicle so that the pedestrian remains with the vehicle until it stops and is not thrown from the vehicle,” the patent reads, “preventing a secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or other object.”
As silly as the patent may sound, it addresses a serious issue. Often the injuries from car accidents occur from the secondary impact of the pedestrian hitting the ground.
A sticky car roof might sound like an inconvenience, as all sorts of dust, leaves, and even bugs could get stuck to the surface, but Google has a solution for that.
An “eggshell” would cover the adhesive roof, and would only break when a crash occurs.
This is not the first time a device has been designed to make the crash easier for the pedestrian. In 2013 Volvo came up with an external airbag that would make the first impact on the car roof less dangerous.
As with most devices, there could be potential downsides to the sticky car-roof. A self-driving car expert told the Mercury News that a stuck pedestrian could block the view of the driver, who could hit more people or get into more accidents as a result.
Google has previously stated it has the goal of making self-driving cars available to consumers by 2020.