Tech Transformers

Google patents sticky car hood to protect pedestrians upon crash


Google's driverless cars could apparently become human flytraps.

The U.S. search giant has been awarded a patent for an adhesive surface on the hood of the car that would mean pedestrians would stick to it if hit. Without the layer, someone could bounce off the hood and potentially be hit by other ongoing vehicles, or even the same car running them over.

To stop bugs and grit sticking to the hood, the tech giant also said that the sticky surface would be covered by a thicker layer which will break on impact to expose the adhesive surface.

"A protective coating is positioned over the adhesive layer. Upon impact with a pedestrian, the coating is broken exposing the adhesive layer. 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," the patent said.

Of course, this is all theoretical, and would largely depend on how a person hits the car.

The automotive sector has been of major interest to Google as it develops its driverless car technology. While driverless cars have been heralded as potentially safer due to the amount of sensors, they still do have crashes.

Carmakers have taken steps to reduce the impact of crashes with pedestrians. Jaguar for example raises the hood of the car on impact to cushion the blow so pedestrians aren't hitting against the solid engine.

Even though companies are awarded patents, it doesn't necessarily mean they will follow through and create the product.

"We hold patents on a variety of ideas," a spokesperson for Google told the San Jose Mercury News website. "Some of those ideas later mature into real products and services, some don't."