Are Shape-shifting Cars A Reality?
Our Georgia Accident Attorneys Discuss the Realities of Shape-shifting Cars
Google's parent Alphabet owns a subordinate company called Waymo. Waymo is an automotive manufacturer that is introducing a shape-shifting car into the market. The design is in the testing phase at this time. Essentially, the car's design will allow it to sense danger and then adjust the frame of the car to adjust for impact based on what it perceives it is going to strike. While the design raises questions about the efficacy of the technology, one thing is clear: safety advances in the automotive industry are sorely needed to combat the steadily rising fatality rates in automobile crashes.
Waymo's applied for and received a patent for this design in 2015. The idea is simple: manufacture a vehicle that protects the occupants on the inside while reducing damage to those in harm's way outside the vehicle. In essence, Waymo believes their patent has created a method to make their car softer, thereby decreasing the chance of inflicting serious injuries upon impact with another object. Waymo's manufacturing method of holding the frame of the car together with tension rods will permit the car to soften upon imminent impact.
Waymo designed the car in such a way that instructs the car to change its rigidity before impact. The auto will do that by releasing tension from one area the vehicle while applying tension to another. The car would be equipped with sensors around the frame that would detect the type of threat. The sensor would then signal to the location on the vehicle where the impact is most likely to occur. That portion of the car would change its rigidity based on whether the sensors determine the threat is another vehicle, inanimate object, or pedestrian.
Experts have described the sensors as the "perceptional system" of the car. The car's perception system can include technology such as sonar, radar, lasers, and other advances to give the car "eyes and ears." The perception system could be used to alter the path of the car's travel and speed as well as instructing the frame to soften or harden as necessary.
Automotive industry experts question how practical this technology could be. One expert said that protecting pedestrians could be impossible because a person who is walking can change their direction rapidly and without warning. That makes their behavior different to predict. The same expert alluded to the problems of integration of the technology into our existing transport system arguing that there will be mistakes made and the consequences of which could be quite disastrous.
Two other industry experts questioned the ability of this design to work in real life scenarios. According to their opinion, the frame and body of the car theoretically protect the passengers from injury upon impact. The experts question what would happen to them in a crash surrounded by material that could be weaker than ordinary auto frames and bodies. To that extent, the occupants of the car are placed in peril at the expense of the potential to protect a pedestrian. There is a far greater likelihood of getting into an accident with another car or inanimate object than there is striking a softer object like a pedestrian or bicyclist.
One expert praised this idea while roundly criticizing Google's other pedestrian safety proposal. Google announced it was working on a method of making autonomous cars "sticky" so that pedestrians will adhere to the frame of the car instead of bouncing off. The expert found that softening upon impact holds greater promise than trying to develop a substance that makes a person stick to the car.
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If you have been involved in any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact Montlick & Associates today for your free consultation. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty-three years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Our accident lawyers have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty-three years.
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