The streets are full of ‘furniture’ in the form of signage and lights -most of which is constructed from heavy-gauge metal tubing. Drive into one of these and you can expect to get decelerated very fast as well as becoming too closely acquainted with it via the windscreen.
Today’s invention is a small robot which travels along streets in search of cylindrical, vertical metal poles of about 80-100mm in diameter. When one is detected, the robot attaches itself and, using a small internal grinder wheel, gouges out a circumferential arc-shaped trench near the pole’s base.
This has the effect of weakening the metal just enough that a collision will cause it to bend away from the vehicle near ground level without jack-knifing it inside or firing it, javelin-like, across the road.
Given the simple, specific geometry, such robots might even undertake this task largely unsupervised.