Google is hard at work on its upcoming self-driving car and now it’s been revealed that the car could have a new technology to protect pedestrians: external airbags. It’s being reported that Google has secured a patent for airbags that would go on the outside of the self-driving car to protect pedestrians that the car may come in contact with.

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The new patent was awarded to Google this week, and according to the patent, airbags on the bumper of the self-driving car would deploy if sensors detect a possible crash. Instead of pushing people away, like a normal airbag would, Google’s external airbags would be made of “visco-elastic material”—a substance similar to memory foam, which would cushion any impact with pedestrians.

Related: Google just unveiled the first functional prototype of its self-driving car

This isn’t the first time that an automaker has thought of putting airbags on the outside of a vehicle, since Volvo currently offers it on the V40. Volvo’s system is slightly different, since the airbag deploys from the back of the hood to cover the windshield, reducing possible head injuries.

+ Google

Via: Quartz

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