Traffic Safety

In 1930, concerned about the danger posed by horseless vehicles, Heinrich Karl invented a solution — a complex mechanism that would sense when a pedestrian had been struck, stop the vehicle, and unfold a blanket to catch him. (As a bonus, “the clothes will not be soiled.”)

The thing was immensely complicated, filling a patent abstract of 10 pages, but Karl saw this as a virtue:

The fact that it will cause a certain amount of work and some loss of time to replace the several parts to their normal position after a collision has occurred is a reason for the driver of the vehicle to be cautious in driving his car or motor truck, etc., which in turn lessens the usual high number of accidents occurring from collisions with persons or vehicles, etc.

That makes a certain amount of sense.