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
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
We’ve been doing it for years, decades for some. How many websites have you created accounts on? Your bank, your credit card companies, social media sites, hotels and travel sites, online shopping sites, and that’s just the start. We do it often without even thinking about it, quickly entering our personal information, our data, in a plethora of systems. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the information we are providing. It could be very personal information (think of the security questions you ...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...