CARS.COM — As panoramic sunroofs grow in popularity, Hyundai has taken a unique step to make them safer by developing a new airbag aimed at containing occupants’ body parts in the event of a rollover. The airbag functions as a kind of inverse life raft, deploying in just 8 hundredths of a second to plug the gap of an open panoramic sunroof.
Encouragingly, Hyundai says that in tests of the airbag, occupant injuries were reduced from life-threatening to minor. The South Korean automaker believes flailing limbs are a serious problem with panoramic sunroofs, and in the wake of a major recall for faulty seat belt linkages in 2017, this new airbag seems like not only clever thinking but an outright necessity.
How this will prevent injury in the event of an exploding sunroof is another story. According to Consumer Reports in October, Hyundai led all comers with 119 complaints of exploding sunroofs since 2011. However, the panoramic-sunroof airbag does not appear equipped to deal with such explosions so long as the vehicle is upright.
There’s also no official word regarding when or in which vehicles these airbags will appear, but with what Hyundai says are 11 owned patents already on the books, you can be sure the technology is coming to its lineup sooner than later. Check out the test video below, which demonstrates its effectiveness in excruciatingly slow motion.