Expansion Plans for Calspan?

October 7, 2011 Updated Oct 7, 2011 at 6:17 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

October 7, 2011 Updated Oct 7, 2011 at 6:17 PM EDT

(Cheektowaga, N.Y.) While it is still very preliminary, it appears that company officials are exploring the idea of expanding the Calspan facility in Cheektowaga, NY.

On Friday morning, local Congressional Representatives, Brian Higgins and Kathy Hochul, were invited to hear a presentation by Calspan explaining their plans to become a Global Transportation Safety Center.

The $35 million dollar expansion will allow the company to study new automobile safety technologies like vehicle avoidance.

"Congressman Higgins and I pledged our full cooperation along with Senator Schumer's staff," adds Congresswoman Hochul.

In September, it was announced that Calspan won a five-year $40 million dollar contract to study vehicle crashes for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

For decades, Calspan has been a world leader in automotive safety research.

Engineers in the 1950's worked to develop seatbelts for cars.

And Calspan's research with crash test dummies led to many safety improvements for drivers and passengers.

The company is currently helping a national program study the behaviors of drivers by installing cameras and sensors in thousands of volunteer's cars.

Calspan also has an extensive history researching aerospace technology.

That dates back to 1940 when it was founded as a research laboratory for the Curtiss Wright Aircraft Company in Buffalo, NY.