Autonomous cars to be fitted with 'human flypaper'

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Google Awarded Patent For Glue-Covered, Pedestrian-Catching Car Hood

A pioneering new safety technology designed by Google could see a reduction in the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by car crashes.

The internet giant has been heavily involved in the progression of autonomous technology for a while now, racking up more than one million miles of driver-free testing on roads in California and Texas. Despite driverless cars promising to be the safest vehicles on the road, it appears that Google is not willing to take any chances when it comes to pedestrian safety.

The company has recently patented a powerful adhesive with which it would cover the bonnets of its autonomous cars. In the instance of a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist, the 'human flypaper' would keep the crash victim stuck to the bonnet and prevent them bouncing off and sustaining further 'secondary impact' injuries.

The flypaper would consist of an eggshell-style coating on the vehicle's bonnet. On impact it would crack and release a powerful adhesive which would hold the victim to the car and prevent them falling back into the road, where they could potentially be struck by another vehicle.

Speaking to US website Gizmodo, Rebecca Thompson, head of public outreach for the American Physical Society, commented: "Getting hit by a car once is much preferable to getting hit by a car and then the ground and then another car.

"Cyclists wear helmets not as much to prevent their head's impact with the car as much as their head's impact with the ground when they fall."

Google's design is just one of a number of technological innovations proposed by carmakers in response to the high number of collisions on Britain's roads, which within the last year have killed or seriously injured 5,300 pedestrians and 3,340 cyclists.

Other safety designs include Volvo's external airbags to protect a pedestrian's head in a crash, and Ford and Jaguars' 'pop-up' bonnets, which lift off the engine to soften the collision impact.