Google's Self-Driving Cars May Catch Pedestrians Like Flies

google self-driving car patent crash
Google's patent describes how an adhesive layer would act like flypaper to stick a pedestrian to the self-driving car in the event of a collision. USPTO

Self-driving cars hold the potential to make road accidents significantly more rare—and strange. A recent patent filed by Google could see its fleet of driverless vehicles transformed into four-wheeled flypaper.

The patent, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on May 17, describes a new "sticky" technology that glues pedestrians to the front of the vehicle in the event of a collision.

"The front region of the vehicle may be coated with a specialized adhesive that adheres to a pedestrian, and thus holds the pedestrian on the vehicle in the unfortunate event that the front of the vehicle comes into contact with the pedestrian," the patent states.

"The adhesion of the pedestrian to the vehicle may prevent the pedestrian from bouncing off."

When a pedestrian is hit by the front of a car, further injuries are often sustained when the driver applies the brakes and the victim hits the road or another hard surface. The patent claims to be able to solve this issue, not just for self-driving cars but for all vehicles.

According to the patent, the adhesive layer would operate in a manner similar to double-sided duct tape and would ideally only activate on impact.

There is no word from Google on whether it plans to implement to patent on its fleet of self-driving cars. A spokesperson for the technology giant was not immediately available for comment.