TECH: Google’s Human Flypaper Could Save Pedestrian Lives

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Google Flypaper

There are all sorts of technologies designed to help the people inside of a car during an accident. As a pedestrian, if you happen to be hit by a car, then there’s very little to protect you from injury. Google’s new human flypaper might be the solution.

They came up with the concept for their self-driving cars. Yes, the whole idea behind these cars is that they will prevent accidents and make our roads safer for pedestrians and passengers. They will, but they won’t prevent accidents completely.

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The software guiding an autonomous car has to predict what’s going to happen and it’s not going to be perfect, especially at the start. Maybe it will be someday, but initially, it’s not going to be foolproof.

Humans are an unpredictable lot. We do things that don’t make sense, so it’s going to be a long while before pedestrian accidents are a thing of the past.

Enter Google’s human flypaper.

When a pedestrian is hit by a car right now, several things happen that make injuries worse. People slide off of the hood and get dragged beneath the car until the driver stops. They are also sometimes thrown from the hood when the driver suddenly hits the brakes creating a secondary impact when they hit the ground.

Google recently filed a patent for a coating to cover the hood and grab a person so they get stuck, just like a bug on a piece of flypaper.

Human Flypaper 2

You may have horrible visions of cars driving around with hoods covered with dirt and bugs, but they’ve found a solution to that problem, too. The sticky surface will be a secondary layer beneath a hard surface that isn’t sticky.

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It will take an impact from something like a human body to crack that top layer and expose the sticky surface underneath. The coating would cover the hood, front bumper, and side panels in an effort to secure a person being hit at different angles.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Google isn’t planning on putting this technology into cars right now. Like many companies, Google files patents just in case they turn out to be a good idea. Many are never used.

Although developed for autonomous cars, there’s no reason this idea couldn’t apply to cars driven by people, too. Pedestrian deaths have been on the rise, with a ten percent increase from 2014 to 2015, so any idea that could help reduce that number is worth investigating. Even human flypaper.