Google’s driverless cars will definitely make driving safer for people inside cars, but what about pedestrians? Quartz reports that Google has been awarded a patent that details a system for installing airbags on the outside of vehicles to lessen the chances that someone getting struck with a self-driving Google car will suffer severe or fatal injuries.
Of course, the trouble with just placing traditional airbags on the outside of the car is that they’d deploy with enough force to knock any pedestrian backward through the air. To solve this issue, Quartz writes that Google is developing “bumpers made out of a ‘visco-elastic material'” that will supposedly lessen the chance that a collision will launch any civilians into the air.
On the whole, driverless cars are expected to be much safer than cars driven by humans as the software is much better at maintaining awareness of its surroundings and has superior reaction times to human drivers. Nonetheless, there’s no guarantee that accidents will never occur, which is why Google seems to be taking as many precautions as it can to make people feel easier about essentially having a bunch of robots roaming around on the streets.
Read more about Google’s crazy idea for exterior car airbags by checking out Quartz’s full report here.