Google patents sticky glue to catch pedestrians hit by self-driving cars

Imagine being stuck to the hood of this car?. AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Google has come up with a strange way to help pedestrians should they be hit by one of the company’s self-driving cars – sticky glue.

The idea is pretty simple – the self-driving car would have a sticky glue-like adhesive layer positioned on the front hood, front bumper and the sides of the vehicle, according to a recently published patent application from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

That way, if the car were to hit a pedestrian, they would “stick” to the hood of the car instead of bouncing back onto the road.

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“In the event of a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian, injury to the pedestrian is often caused not only by the initial impact of the vehicle and the pedestrian, but also by the ensuing, secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or other object,” reads the patent.

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“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, thereby preventing a secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or other object.”

Handout/U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Handout/U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The adhesive is described like a double-sided duct tape in the patent filing.

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While this sounds like a great way to coat your car in road debris and bugs, Google notes that the adhesive portion of the hood would be coated until impact with a pedestrian, exposing the sticky layer.

Although the patent filing was published this week, Google applied for the patent back in 2014. A patent filing does not necessarily mean that Google plans to use this strange safety feature.

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However, there are still a number of outstanding questions regarding this safety contraption. For example, what if the car was to lose control after the collision and the person was left stuck to the hood of the car?

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