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Driverless cars would have a smaller padded driverless "bumper" car rolling in front of it that would cause minimum or no damage if it hit a pedestrial or another car. It would also be driverless but with would carry nothing above the drive and sensor systems other than padding.
The heavy, and more
dangerous vehicle carrying passengers or freight follows a safe distance behind. In the event of a collision, the trailer vehicle would be very well tuned into the vehicle in front of it that is actively connected to the braking and other crash avoidance systems.
You would need to rope off the area between the two vehicles though so people woudln't do that obnoxious move where they cut into that space in the safe distance you're trying to establish behind the vehicle in front of you such as when it rains.
||Ooh, my own automated motorcade. I see uses...
||Even a padded car doing 60mph is going to be
dangerous. What's needed is a half-size padded car,
travelling 20m in front of your padded car.
||I should clarify, by smaller I mean a little outrigger deal like
clown car, perhaps go cart size. Even that isn't 100% safe,
but it would
act as an extended bumper basically with a 20, 30 or 40
foot braking zone.
||What about simply wrapping the robot car in lots and lots
of padding? Maybe a hard-contact-triggered airbag on
every exterior surface.
||You could cover the entire road surface with foam rubber balls. A scoop at the front of the vehicle scoops up balls which are shot by a ball-gun in all directions. This will harmlessly push pedestrians and other obstacles out of the way and also warn of your approach.
||Also useful as a propellant. Vehicle sucks rubber balls in,
(and pedestrians) and shoots them out the back at high