Google has touted the advanced accident-avoidance capabilities of its self-driving cars as superior to those of human-driven cars. In fact, the company boasts some very impressive test statistics. However, accidents will still inevitably occur – whether it is the Google car’s fault or not – and when these instances involve a pedestrian, the company has an idea that it says will save lives.
The idea is a little bit like flypaper. Google has patented an invention that would cause pedestrians that hit vehicles equipped with this technology to get stuck on the front of the car like a little bug. Indeed, a breakable shell exterior covers a highly adhesive material. When the shell is broken by a pedestrian getting hit by the vehicle, the pedestrian will get instantaneously stuck to the car. The reason this is helpful is because the pedestrian will not bounce off the car and strike something else, like another vehicle, the sidewalk or the Google car’s windshield.
Google says that the technology is helpful because even though pedestrians can be seriously hurt in the first impact, the secondary impact that happens after the pedestrian bounces off the colliding vehicle makes matters even worse. The adhesive material could remove this secondary impact and all its associated injuries from the equation of a pedestrian crash.
Experts seem to agree that the flypaper idea is not a horrible one; that is, if it would actually work. However, we are probably a long way off from seeing this technology being used, and pedestrians will still get hurt in crashes even with it in use. When pedestrians do get hurt, they often are not faulted for the crash, and the fault is given to the vehicle driver. When this happens, the pedestrian may have a strong claim for damages in court.