Welcome!

News Feed Item

Former IndyCar Driver Sam Schmidt Becomes First Individual Ever to Drive on Race Track Semi-Autonomous Motorcar Modified for Individuals with Quadriplegia

Topping out at 73.7 miles per hour, former IndyCar driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series Team owner Sam Schmidt today drove a race car for the first time since he was paralyzed in a practice accident in 2000. Driving a modified 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray dubbed the SAM Project, meaning “semi-autonomous motorcar,” Schmidt becomes the first person with quadriplegia to drive a race car at speed using integrated advanced electronics.

Schmidt drove four consecutive demonstration laps today prior to Old National Armed Forces Pole Day qualifying for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

The SAM Project is a collaborative venture between Arrow Electronics, Inc., Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports and Falci Adaptive Motorsports, a nonprofit. Arrow led the development of the SAM car and the systems integration, as well as the engineering of specific systems for the car. Ball led the modification of the human-to-machine interface and driver-guidance system. Colorado neurosurgeon and Falci Adaptive Motorsports founder Dr. Scott Falci advocated for the modification of a Corvette for FAM’s adaptive motorsports program for the spinal-cord injured and recruited Schmidt to the SAM Project. The Air Force Research Laboratory monitored Schmidt’s biometrics during laps, as well as collecting data in how he interacted with the guidance systems.

“Racing has been a dream of mine since I was five years old,” said Schmidt. “I thought I’d never be able to race again after my accident, but this vehicle made it possible. While I was in the SAM vehicle, I was unencumbered by my disability. It was the most normal I have felt in nearly 15 years. It was amazing.”

While autonomous vehicles exist today, a race car for individuals paralyzed from the shoulders down did not exist until the SAM Project. Moreover, the SAM Project’s objectives are not to transfer control of a vehicle to technology but rather to enable disabled drivers to enjoy the driving experience by leveraging the power of technology.

The vehicle integrates the following technology:

  • Infrared camera system – four sensors mounted on Schmidt’s hat connected to infrared cameras mounted on the dashboard that detect his head tilt motions in order to steer and accelerate.
  • Bite sensor – Schmidt holds a device in his mouth and bites down on it to slow down or brake.
  • Computer system – a central processor collects signals from the camera system and bite sensor to control the car’s acceleration, braking and steering,
  • GPS technology – a guidance system that keeps the car within 1.5 meters from the edge of the track. Schmidt has a width of approximately 10 meters to steer within.
  • Safety system – a set of software algorithms that ensure commands sent to the computer system are real and defined within the vehicle’s limits.

Following Indy 500 festivities, the SAM vehicle will be brought to events for public inspiration and education, disabled community awareness and business development opportunities. The project also supports Conquer Paralysis Now, Schmidt’s foundation dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis.

ABOUT THE SAM PROJECT

The SAM (semi-autonomous motorcar) Project is an innovative project in which a 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray car has been modified with integrated advanced electronics and a human-to-machine interface so a qualified quadriplegic driver can safely operate it under racetrack conditions. The concept of modifying cars so disabled racers might return to the racetrack is championed by Colorado neurosurgeon Dr. Scott Falci. The SAM Project is a collaborative venture between Arrow Electronics, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., the Air Force Research Laboratory, Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports and Falci Adaptive Motorsports. More information about the project is available at http://arrowsamcar.com/.

ABOUT SAM PROJECT PARTNERS

About Arrow Electronics

Arrow Electronics (www.arrow.com) is a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. Arrow serves as a supply channel partner for more than 100,000 original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers and commercial customers through a global network of more than 460 locations in 58 countries. Based in Englewood, Colo., Arrow guides today’s innovators to a better tomorrow – a world of Five Years Out. Five Years Out is a community of builders and engineers who navigate the path between possibility and practicality. Arrow is guiding the SAM project forward to improve mobility for the disabled and demonstrate the power of innovation. For more information about Arrow and the SAM project, visit www.arrow.com.

About Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a subsidiary of the Ball Corporation and based in Broomfield, Colo., prides itself on its agility to innovate and strength to deliver for defense, intelligence, civil and commercial customers. The company advances science and protects the nation through the development and manufacture of space systems, tactical defense products and geospatial information solutions. Ball is a key contributor of technical innovations for the SAM project and leads the modification of the human to machine interface and driver guidance system. www.ballaerospace.com

About the Air Force Research Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory is a scientific research organization operated by the United States Air Force Materiel Command dedicated to leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable aerospace warfighting technologies, planning and executing the Air Force science and technology program, and provide warfighting capabilities to United States air, space, and cyberspace forces. www.wpafb.af.mil/afrl

About Falci Adaptive Motorsports

Falci Adaptive Motorsports is a registered Colorado non-profit. Its mission is to provide opportunity, education and inspiration to the public through disabled racing initiatives and advancements in spinal cord injury research encompassing spinal cord regeneration techniques, drug development for spinal cord injury neuropathic pain, and development of adaptive technologies for those with spinal cord injury and disabilities in general. One of FAM’s priorities is to demonstrate the SAM vehicle to advance new mobility systems and lower the barriers that discourage and isolate the disabled community. www.falcimotorsports.org

About Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports

Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports is a racing team owned by quadriplegic Sam Schmidt and partners. SPMS competes in both IndyCar and Indy Lights. The SAM C7 was modified at its racing garage in Indianapolis. SPMS’s priorities are for Sam Schmidt to safely drive at speed and to support the disabled community through his related charity, Conquer Paralysis Now. www.spmindycar.com

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, paneli...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations might...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...