Subsidiary of Alphabet, project, self-driving cars Waymo, announced the receipt of patent on the technology variable stiffness body vehicles. It is designed to protect all people inside and outside the car, during the collision with different objects on road. If necessary, robomobile will instantly become very soft, or conversely, hard.
By default, robomobile always trying to avoid an accident, but still remains the problem of thoughtless pedestrians and inadequate drivers. If the system decides that a collision is imminent, robomobile can try to adapt to the impact. To increase the stiffness of the body to the ball to bounce off of solid obstacles. Or become soft, if there is a threat to knock a person or animal.
Key elements of this dynamic protection are “tensioner” that can be created from springs, cables, adjustable tension, telescopic frame made of pipes, etc. They are distributed around the outer perimeter of the vehicle to each node could respond to the shock separately. For example, when a careless rider will strike the left side of the bumper, preemptively deformed only she, and not the entire part as a whole.
In Waymo describes know-how: imagine that a strong case robomobile suddenly turns into a soft pillow. However, do not provide any reports and studies that have confirmed that this will indeed save one’s health or even life. However, critics point out that this idea is not so crazy as last – the developers offered to cover the machine body with adhesive to a pedestrian stuck to it and fought on the asphalt in an accident.