Airbag development for Google’s car

Google has been awarded a new patent which could see its driverless car come with airbags on the outside to protect pedestrians, Quartz has reported.

In a new patent awarded to Google yesterday, the company outlined a system for external airbags and bumpers that could deploy in the event of an accident. One idea suggested in the patent is to ‘mount airbags on the outside of the cars, to create a buffer for pedestrians’. These airbags would deploy when the car senses that a collision with another vehicle is imminent.

The patent notes that using traditional car bumpers and airbags would most likely cause a person to bounce off and injure themselves in the resultant collision with the ground. Google’s solution for preventing pedestrian injuries of this sort is bumpers made out of a ‘visco-elastic material.’

So far there have only been two recorded accidents with Google self driving cars, one where the car was being driven in manual mode and the other when another car drove into the back of the vehicle.

Google is not the only company working on external airbags, Volvo also has pedestrian-sensing airbags on some of its vehicles.