Ford Patents High-Tech Headliner Airbag Designed to Make Rollover Crashes Safer

Ford looks to mind the gap between occupants' heads and the car's roof.

Hot on the heels of a record-breaking year for the number of patents granted, Ford doesn’t seem to be resting on its laurels in 2017. The newest patent the American automaker has filed for is an airbag that will live between a car’s headliner and roof panel, AutoGuide reports. 

In an effort to make rollover accidents safer, the airbag is designed to deploy when it detects the car is flipping, thus reducing the space between the occupants’ heads and the car’s headliner—effectively helping to restrain the occupants from jostling around more than they would otherwise. AutoGuide also notes that inherent in the design is the ability for older cars to be retrofitted with the new airbag, since it doesn’t require major structural changes to be made to the car. 

During a rollover, it’s common for an occupant to hit his head on the headliner, which doesn’t normally have much padding between it and the actual, hard roof panel. With more space separating the headliner and roof panel—especially space filled with and supported by an airbag—Ford hopes this new patent will make the rollover accident a safer situation.