Waymo’s self-driving car could bend to reduce crash impact

A patent filed by the Google-owned autonomous vehicle company shows how sensors in its cars could be used to detect a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist, and soften the surface accordingly.

Google’s self-driving car unit Waymo could be looking to develop a system that would soften the surface of its autonomous vehicles in the event of a crash and reduce the likelihood of fatalities, according to a patent filed by the company.

The patent, which has been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, details a system that could detect whether an object is about to collide with the car and can adapt the rigidity of its surface accordingly.

“Collisions involving at least one vehicle occur frequently and often cause serious harm,” the patent reads. “The force of the vehicle’s impact is a primary factor in the amount of damage that is caused by the vehicle. Accordingly, it is desirable to design a vehicle that can reduce the force of impact experienced during a collision.”

The system could work by using sensors and processors to detect whether a person, cyclist or animal is about to collide with the car.

“Tension members”

The processor could then adapt mechanisms, or “tension members”, in the surface of the car exterior in order to reduce the impact of a collision.

The “tension members” could take the form of cables, which are either cut, released or loosened to reduce tension in the surface of the car exterior.

The rigidity of different areas of the vehicle’s surface could then be altered depending on where the collision takes place, such as within the hood, bumper or side panel.

Some areas of the car’s surface could also be corrugated to lessen the impact.

Waymo has not confirmed whether it plans to produce the feature in the future.

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  • richard everitt August 16, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I have a Special Needs I have Autism I really would love having my independence back I can’t driving a originally car with My Health I have difficult of motor skills I have a walking stick because of my legs I getting tried every day where I am standing around with my feet I fall over allotted of time because my joints planning up because total clams self driving car will helping my disability problem disabled body can not cope I having relying on the buses to go to my work it is volunteering in the office I doing allotted of travelling getting thru the traffic on the buses every time I have go on the buses early to getting my to and from car be easier to getting by and leaving early to doing runs to from working into the car stop and starting need small 2 seater car waymo because that be the best thing for me to getting new car Would I have to programming the car no driving test can I just go with maybe Licence not fully test my motor skill not good I would my first new car my dream having car you I am not realised man can’t driving I love to give it trying to getting my own motor that be wonderfully to new Will it go running on the 2 seater google waymo self driving car will it be Hybrid? Low taxes? Low insurance? what Insurance company taking them on? do Licence if fully self driving like the waymo I thinking should do is like no test but do the computer part Programming the system if the blind man can driving Steve Mahan can doing it why can’t the special needs have one if that are able body but the motor skill not good enough to learning how to driving can’t driving would not pass my driving test at all this way the waymo self driving car and will the waymo 2 seater will be affordable if you are on benefits DLA Equal Lives income support? will be ideal for me thanks for the time thanks for listening Can you please answering my question to the team of waymo Hooray thanks Regarding Richard Everitt

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