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Google patent protects pedestrians from self-driving cars

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Corey Matthew
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U.S. Patent Office

Today, when a car runs into a pedestrian, it often carries the person along until the driver brakes, throwing the victim from the vehicle, possibly leading to further injury as they hit the road or some other hard surface, or get hit by another car, the patent said.

"An eggshell-like layer covering the adhesive would protect the sticky surface during everyday driving, but shatter in an accident to reveal the glue.

The Google patent comes at a time of rising pedestrian traffic fatalities, with preliminary data suggesting a 10 percent increase nationally last year from 4,884 deaths in 2014, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

"Manufacturers have gotten remarkably good at protecting the occupants of the vehicle, but there's been much less attention to protecting the people outside.

But, Smith said, Google's patent highlights a problem central to safety engineering: solutions create their own concerns.

Contact Ethan Baron at 408-920-5011 or follow him at Twitter.com/ethanbaron

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