Hyundai Mobis develops first-ever sunroof airbags

Article by Christian A., on October 27, 2017

Does your vehicle’s sunroof come with an airbag? This may be the first time you’ve ever heard that such a thing actually does exist. Since safety often tops the priority list of all car manufacturers, automotive parts suppliers are relentlessly seeking new innovations to offer to their clients.

Enter Hyundai Mobis, which brings to us what is now known as the very first airbag for your car’s panoramic sunroof. This may take a long while to be seen everywhere as the company will be focusing on premium SUVs at the moment. If eventually this becomes available worldwide, we believe these special airbags will further raise our standards for safety.

But why place it over your head? Well, its main concern is to prevent occupants from being ejected out of the vehicle’s panoramic sunroof in case of a rollover accident. At the time of an emergency, the sunroof airbag can deploy in as quick as 0.08 second which is pretty similar to what the side-curtain airbags on most vehicles accomplish. Hyundai Mobis’ patented technology will work whether the sunroof is closed or open to keep passengers safe no matter what. Imagine an airbag that goes down from the back and moves forward to cover the entire panoramic glass roof. That’s how it works.

This new development happens to coincide with the numerous reports regarding Hyundai’s panoramic glass sunroof exploding unexpectedly, causing injuries to some of its passengers. According to Consumer Reports, there were around 859 cases reported involving such accidents from 1995 onwards. It should be noted however that Hyundai Mobis’ sunroof airbag was not specifically developed as an answer to this problem.

At any rate, panoramic sunroofs with added safety features isn’t a bad idea as the demand for new technology grows at a steady pace. Many automakers have been installing extensive glass roof panels in their cars lately and it would be more than cool if these sunroofs come with an airbag. Moreover, Hyundai Mobis is anticipating an increase in annual sales with this type of airbag, signifying there really is a great market potential for this new safety feature.

However, it appears that the sunroof isn’t the only place to put on those airbags, considering that other automakers have their own takes too when it comes to this matter. Mercedes-Benz as we already know has patented an external airbag to protect pedestrians. Then there is Ford, which has been trying to consider putting up airbags to its tray tables in its autonomous vehicles. Furthermore, Porsche has patented an airbag to be mounted on its convertible’s A-pillars. So you see, with each of these automotive brands competing for attention, we’re definitely expecting the list to grow more.

Press Release

Hyundai Mobis Develops the World's First Panorama Sunroof Airbag

Hyundai Mobis successfully developed the world’s first panorama sunroof airbag system. This airbag is a safety device that reduces injuries by preventing the body of the passenger from being thrown out of the car through the sunroof in a rollover accident.

“We will focus on premium SUV models and become a global leader in advanced airbags.”

Hyundai Mobis completed road test and reliability tests this month, including heat resistance and vibration resistance tests, and it has secured mass production technology. The panorama sunroof airbag has not previously been applied to mass-produced vehicles.

This technology is significant in terms of securing advanced technological competency in airbags by Hyundai Mobis. Since the company began mass-producing airbags back in 2002, Hyundai Mobis has showcased cutting-edge airbag technologies including the 4th generation advanced airbag and the inter-passenger airbag. It’s the first time that Hyundai Mobis has acquired a mass-production airbag technology ahead of its competitors.

The panorama sunroof is a convenience feature that enables passengers in the backseat to enjoy an open view. It’s made from special tempered glass to expand the openness of the existing sunroof. According to several resources, as of 2015, the global market for sunroofs for automobiles is worth about 6 billion USD, and is expected to grow by about 11% on average every year until 2022.

As the sunroof airbag prevents the passenger from spilling from the car in a rollover accident, it can reduce the risk of sustaining serious injuries. In a road test using dummies, when the airbag was deployed, it prevented the passenger from being flung out of the car and cushioned the impact on the head. Serious injuries likely to result in the death of the passenger were reduced to minor injuries.

The panorama sunroof airbag is installed inside the sunroof, and deployed forward from the rear of the car. It resembles the curtain airbag that is deployed alongside the windows of the vehicle in a broadside collision. If the turning angle of the vehicle is changed due to rollover, the sensor detects it, and the inflator deploys the airbag. The airbag cushion inflated by the gas covers the entire roof surface of the vehicle in only 0.08 seconds and protects the passengers.

The structure of the sunroof airbag is more complex than that of ordinary airbags. It has more technological difficulty, so to speak. As this airbag is in the sunroof system, it is important to secure enough space for stable airbag deployment when making the sunroof. What’s more, it must be deployed safely in a way that fits the situation, e.g. when the sunroof screen is open or closed in an accident. If the car is overturned when the sunroof is closed, the airbag is deployed across between the sunroof glass and the sun shield.

Due to this technological difficulty, the technologies developed by overseas airbag manufacturers have remained at the conceptual level. Hyundai Mobis applied 11 patents in the process of developing this technology and gained a competitive advantage over its rivals in terms of technology.

“We announced this technology at a global automotive safety conference held in the US in June, and attracted the attention of major institutions related to road safety and industry officials in the US,” said a Hyundai Mobis official. “We will focus on premium SUV models and become a global leader in advanced airbags.”

Source: Hyundai

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