Airbags inside cars are designed to protect your head, neck, and chest in the event of a smash. More recent designs offer additional protection for your knees and sides. Now Hyundai has taken the technology up a notch with what it claims is the world’s first panorama sunroof airbag system.
Hyundai announced several days ago that it had successfully developed the sunroof-based airbag in partnership with parts supplier Hyundai Mobis, the Korean car company’s parts and service unit.
Designed to enhance safety in the event of a rollover in which the vehicle’s occupants could spill out of the car or bang their head, the specially designed airbag deploys from the back part of the sunroof and fully inflates in just 0.08 seconds.
“It resembles the curtain airbag that is deployed alongside the windows of the vehicle in a broadside collision,” Hyundai explains. “If the turning angle of the vehicle is changed due to a rollover accident, the sensor detects it, and the inflator deploys the airbag.”
The carmaker says the design of its panorama sunroof airbag system is “more complex” than ordinary airbags. This likely refers to the fact that it fits inside a compact space and deploys even when the sunroof is closed. In such a case, the airbag opens between the sunroof glass and the sun shield.
In a video posted on YouTube (above), we can see the new airbag undergoing tests. The slow-motion sequence shows the airbag inflating as the car starts to tip over, filling the gap well before the vehicle lands on its side.
Overhead airbags do already exist, though they usually replace the dashboard airbags and so are designed with front impacts in mind. Citroen’s C4 Cactus car, for example, has such an airbag. Created by Michigan-based TRW Automotive, the roof airbag frees up space at the front of the vehicle and gives designers more flexibility how best to utilize the extra room. TRW, incidentally, is also responsible for this extraordinary design that envelops the entire vehicle and could be in production by 2020.
Hyundai is yet to confirm when it will start incorporating the new airbag into its vehicles, though it’s possible the high-end Genesis sedan could be among the first of its models to benefit.
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