Google is continuing to work on new ventures with its Google self-driving car, which some say looks like a marshmallow. The marshmallow effect may be further enhanced pillow-soft air bags that burst in the front bumper. Google has filed a patent for a “System for pedestrian leg protection in vehicle impact,” a new form Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
The bumper is comprised of a may air sacs, some of the air sacs stretch and then burst during impact between the bumper and a pedestrian. It causes deceleration through the width of the bumper and reduces spring back of the bumper on the pedestrian. The bumpers are made out of a “visco-elastic material.”
The patent states that current car bumpers typically “spring back” after impact which can also cause additional injury to pedestrian.
Current car bumpers are made of closed cell foam and are “generally too stiff and strong to provide cushioning to a pedestrian in the event of a pedestrian collision.” Traditoinal bumpers can injure pedestrians.
It’s very important for driverless cars to be safe especially the Google car because it is actually a LSV (Low Speed Vehicle) that has lower safety guidelines than passenger vehicles and trucks. LSVs can only go up to 25mph in the State of California. If you have ever driven behind one, they seem to take forever.
A study by Carnegie Mellon University found that the top wanted features of autonomous self-driving cars are self-adjusting performance based on weather conditions and self-parking to find a space.
Volvo offers engine hood is elastic to protect pedestrians. The Volvo V-40, has the first exterior pedestrian protection airbag. Continental developed pedestrian protection for Daimler when an impact is sensed the hood opens reducing pedestrian injuries.