Google Patents 'Pedestrian Glue' for Self-Driving Cars

Invention aims to reduce secondary impacts
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2016 3:27 AM CDT
Google Patents 'Pedestrian Glue' for Self-Driving Cars
This is probably better than being knocked to the ground.   (US Patent and Trademark Office )

(Newser) – If you're unlucky enough to be hit by one of Google's self-driving cars, the company wants you to stay glued to the front of it, according to a patent that's dated May 17—not April 1. The patent describes an adhesive layer that "may be a very sticky material and operate in a manner similar to flypaper, or double-sided duct tape," designed to prevent pedestrians from further injury, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The technology, which will also work on ordinary cars, will bring both the vehicle and the pedestrian to a "more gradual stop than if the pedestrian bounces off the vehicle," the patent states. The sticky stuff will be under an eggshell-like layer so it won't end up covered in insects during everyday vehicle use.

The idea sounds like it has the potential to prevent injuries, American Physical Society spokeswoman Rebecca Thompson tells Gizmodo. "Getting hit by a car once is much preferable to getting hit by a car and then the ground and then another car," she says. "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." A Google spokeswoman declined to say whether the company really plans to introduce the system to its fleet. The company holds patents "on a variety of ideas," she says: "Some of those ideas later mature into real products and services, some don't." (Glue may not be much help if you're hit by one of the self-driving big rigs a former Google engineer is working on.)

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