Hyundai Mobis, a parts division of South Korean car maker’s, has developed the world’s first panoramic sunroof airbag that will prevent passengers falling out or receiving serious head injuries in the case of a vehicle rollover.
Borrowing inspiration from the way curtain airbags inflate, the new system fits inside a specially-designed panoramic sunroof space that has a thicker gap between the inside and exterior roof structure and is structurally more complex than normal. In the case of a vehicle turnover, or if the sensor detects too much roll, the airbag inflates from the rear forwards and fills the entire cavity in just 0.08 seconds.
Its position between the glass and sunroof visor allow the airbag to inflate regardless of whether the roof is open or closed and Hyundai says that in testing with dummies it prevented passengers from being flung out of the vehicle when open, or serious head trauma occurring when closed, reducing live-threatening injuries to minor ones.
“The panorama sunroof airbag is a convenience feature that enables passengers in the rear of the car to enjoy an open view,” said Hyundai.
“In the event of a rollover, the panorama sunroof airbag system prevents passengers from spilling from the car, and can reduce the risk of them sustaining serious injuries. Therefore, serious injuries likely to result in the death of the passenger were reduced to minor injuries.”
While Hyundai’s new technology is the world’s first panoramic airbag there have been similar systems, with US company TRW Automotive developing a roof airbag for the Citroen C4 Cactus that was later acquired by German giant ZF Group for greater commercialisation.