Imagine a car that starts to fall apart prior to crashing.
The company has received a patent for technology that would make the car less rigid just before a crash. The thinking is that components like the hood, panels and bumpers — those items most impacted in a collision — would become less rigid thanks to tension cables that would automatically loosen when the car’s computer says it's headed for a crash.
Looser components lessen the impact of collision, reasons Waymo, which has been working on self-driving car technology since 2009. Waymo broke off from Google last year, forming an independent company under the Alphabet corporate umbrella. Google has long pitched self-driving cars as a way to reduce traffic accidents and car deaths.
The self-driving technology being developed by Waymo includes sensors and software designed to detect pedestrians, cyclists, other vehicles and driving impediments. But if a crash does occur, Waymo wants the car to become a bit more flexible, causing less damage.