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0 Comments | Sep 29, 2017

Crumple and Crash

Automotive safety technology has always developed quickly, but new innovations have come at an even faster pace of late. Some of these features, like blind spot monitoring or lane departure warnings, are designed to protect the people in your car and in other cars on the road. Other new developments are now being designed to protect people who aren’t in the vehicles.


A company named Waymo (a spin-off of Google focused on developing autonomous vehicles) recently received a patent for technology that would essentially soften the car should it collide with a pedestrian. The vehicle uses collision identification sensors that differentiate between humans and vehicles.  If the impending crash involves another car, all the surfaces maintain rigidity. If it’s a person, a series of internal springs, rods, and cables adjust the external rigidity to soften the blow. There’s no guarantee this technology will ever make it to production, but it’s an interesting thought exercise.


A different concept has made it to the testing phase. The state of Colorado is testing a self-driving crash truck. A crash truck is a large vehicle designed to withstand impact, generally driven behind road crews to shield them from accidents. Historically these trucks have required a driver, which means workers are still at risk of injury. The new autonomous truck follows the path of a human driven vehicle at a set distance using GPS. With a computer driving, the risk to life is minimal should a careless driver collide with the crash truck.


These types of developments show how advancement in automotive safety technology could make the roads safer in the coming years.