In 1942, Cornell University began studying pilot impact injuries inside airplane cockpits. By 1951, this program included the Automotive Crash Injury Research (ACIR) project. Cornell University's Medical College conducted automobile crash tests with dummies and studied accident survival in relation to door security, rollover hazards, and bodily impact inside a car. The ACIR staff recommended the addition of seat belts, dashboard padding, crashworthy door locks, and recessed-hub steering wheels to production cars.
In 1957, Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory built a radically redesigned safety car for a public tour sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, a contributor to the ACIR project. The Cornell-Liberty Survival Car featured seat belts, bucket seats, crash padding, sliding doors, side impact protection, and steering levers. A counterpoint to futuristic dream cars that appealed to emotion and imagination, the Cornell-Liberty Survival Car embodied sobering, practical designs that promised to save lives. Padding and seat belts became standard equipment on production cars in the 1960s.