Hyundai Mobis, the automotive parts division of South Korea’s largest carmaker, has announced that it has developed the world’s first panoramic roof airbag. The safety device is designed to prevent occupants from being ejected from the vehicle through the glass roof in the event of a rollover.

Getting thrown out through a panoramic roof may not seem like such a big issue, but the market for these sunroofs is growing. According to P&S Market Research, the global market for panoramic roofs is estimated to be worth around six trillion won (RM22.4 billion) in 2015 and is expected to grow by an average of 11% per year until 2022.

In a recent study, the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that a total of 260 people in North America have fallen onto the roof of a vehicle in rollover crashes. Such incidences could cause severe injuries to the head and neck, among others.

The airbag developed by Hyundai Mobis is inflated if sensors in the vehicle detect a change in rotation angle due to a rollover. Deployed from the rear of the panoramic roof, it stretches across the surface in a manner similar to a curtain airbag, covering the entire area in just 0.08 seconds.

Hyundai Mobis says that the panoramic roof airbag has a more complicated structure than a regular airbag, as it has to deploy in a stable manner from within the roof assembly. It also has to be deployed differently depending on whether the roof is open or closed, going under the sunshade in the case of the latter.

The company tested the airbag on an actual vehicle in October and has completed reliability verification for heat resistance and vibration, as well as securing the technology for mass production. It has also applied for 11 patents for the technology, with a focus on implementing it on premium SUVs.