August 14, 2017 - 16:11 AMT
Waymo seeks to build softening cars to safeguard pedestrians

Self-driving cars are supposed to be safer by nature, as they shouldn't make nearly as many driving errors as humans. However, Waymo might not be willing to take any chances. The Alphabet-owned company recently received a patent for technology that would soften a car's body in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, Engadget reveals.

The feature would change the rigidity of body panels, bumpers and the hood using underlying cables, rods or springs. The moment sensors detect an imminent pedestrian impact, the car would loosen those underpinnings and create a relatively gentle surface that reduces injuries.

This is just a patent (that was filed in 2015), so there's no guarantee that Waymo will implement it -- the company clearly hasn't so far.