The patent describes how a pedestrian would become stuck to the hood and bumper when struck, potentially preventing a secondary blow and further pedestrian injuries to the victim where they may have previously bounced off the car, striking the windshield, roof, or road after the initial collision. While this idea seems kind of crazy at first, as a lawyer representing pedestrians who have been hit by cars, I have found that many of my clients’ injuries happen when the client hits the car a second or third time or when they ultimately strike the pavement.
Google believes that fewer impacts means fewer injuries, even if they’ll just end up covered in an adhesive substance.
The coating will supposedly be present underneath an outer egg-like shell that would break in the event of a collision with a pedestrian or other object. Google has declined to offer further details on the patent, noting that product announcements should not be inferred from patents.
“It sounds wacky to me, but who am I to say” said Bill Visnic, editorial director of mobility media at the Society of Automotive Engineers. “It’s not something that’s beyond the pale of imagination as having some potential to help”
Pedestrian advocates nationwide hope that this solution, along with others being developed, will help aid in the reduction of pedestrian accidents and fatalities on our city streets.
“It’s really exciting to see a vehicle maker start thinking about the people around the vehicle and outside the vehicle, and not just the safety of those in vehicles” said Nicole Ferrara, executive director of Walk San Francisco.
The world is changing and I am greatly encouraged to learn that Google is thinking about how to reduce pedestrian injuries. Conceivably, this type of body panel could also help to prevent additional injuries to bicycle riders.