Let’s talk about India. Statistics say that one car accident happens every fifteen minutes on the busy roads of metropolitan Mumbai. Which means at least one life is at risk every fifteen minutes. But what if I say that the car, right before crashing into someone or something, would automatically soften, creating a cushioning effect(much like the effect of airbags inside the car) and reducing it’s impact to minimum on unfortunate victims. This is exactly what Waymo is working towards.
Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., has patented an idea of a new car shell that will soften, meaning the car body would become less rigid, during a crash accident which will reduce the force of it’s impact on the victim. The force of the vehicle’s impact is a primary factor in the amount of damage that is caused by the vehicle,” said the patent. “Accordingly, it is desirable to design a vehicle that can reduce the force of impact experienced during a collision.”
The floppy car works this way: The exterior of the car would be held rigid with the help of several cables. When a car’s sensors would sense an imminent collision then the cables would be cut, loosened or released to reduce the rigidity and collapse different parts of the car like the hood, panels, bumpers. The car would judge which parts to collapse based on the speed, direction and even classification of the oncoming object(biker, pedestrian, pavement, etc.) .
However, the patent doesn’t clear if the passengers inside the car would be safer too.
Earlier on Waymo was granted a patent for a car that would have an adhesive outer layer, similar to a flypaper to protect pedestrians from self-driving vehicle injury. Under this patent, the car would have a sticky outer layer, much like a flypaper, so that the pedestrian how would be hit by the car would stick to it rather than bouncing off and inflicting further injury from hitting the road.
We would have to wait to see whether these innovations hit the roads or not, because mamy patents do not actualize into products.