When autonomous vehicles (AVs) do enter the US vehicle fleet in a few years, at least one major safety concern will remain- the risk of car-pedestrian collisions. And because pedestrians have no protection around them, they will still be at very high risk of injury in crash situations.
That’s one reason why Google has patented a system designed to reduce pedestrian injuries in car-pedestrian collisions. Basically, the systems uses a “sticky car hood” to trap the pedestrian after the first contact, with the goal of preventing any secondary contact by the pedestrian with the pavement, the vehicle’s roof, or another vehicle.
Integrating a strong adhesive that does not activate until a pedestrian contacts the hood, the system “traps” the pedestrian, thus reducing the chance of further injury. While the system may have some flaws, or yet-to-be-identified unintended consequences, it at least shows that manufacturers are considering how AVs may interact with all road users, including the most vulnerable road users.