Ford's inflatable seatbelt – Click above for high-res image gallery
While we're all accustomed to seeing crash test vehicles packed with loveable dummies, the truth is that manufacturers can't always rely on high-tech mannequins to get the information they need. Sometimes, they have to resort to other testing procedures to research how new safety tech will impact the human body. And, as Jalopnik points out, those other procedures involve genuine human cadavers.
Now, don't start thinking that your favorite manufacturer has a covert team of grave robbers on the pay roll. According to the Jalop, automakers typically partner with universities that have the facilities for that kind of work. In every case, the family members of the deceased are informed of what kind of research their loved ones' body is being used for, and the cadaver is disposed of respectfully and properly after the trials.
So why use a body when we have all of these fancy computer models at our disposal? Because unfortunately, neither dummies nor our modeling systems have caught up with the complexities of the human body. Most recently, Ford used the deceased to test the impacts of its inflatable seatbelts on internal organs. Head over to Jalopnik to read the full piece.