The 1960s were a decade of dramatic progress in science and engineering. In space, NASA's Apollo missions fostered boundless dreams and aspirations, as man took his first glorious steps upon the surface of the moon. And on earth, people were beginning to see visions of an ever-advancing automotive technology. It all meant the promise of a bright future.
The rapid popularization of automobiles in the 1960s backlashed in the 1970s, however. Various problems began to emerge, from environmental pollution and traffic congestion to growing numbers of traffic accidents and recalls of defective vehicles. In response to public concerns, significant efforts were made to address these problems. The ESV (Experimental Safety Vehicle) program, led by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a U.S. agency), was one such effort.