You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Paralyzed Former Racer to Drive Modified 2014 Corvette Using Only His Head

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/15/2014 Karla Sanchez

Autonomous cars are nothing new, but a semi-autonomous race car is. The Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM) project pushes the envelope when it comes to self-driving cars, as it gives quadriplegics the opportunity to speed down the track in a specially modified race car.

Former Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt is at the forefront of this project, as he'll demonstrate how he can pilot a modified 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray using only his head. Schmidt became a paraplegic after he was involved in a crash in 2000, but thanks to the SAM project, his driving days are far from over. That's because Arrow Electronics, together with Ball Aerospace & Technologies Crop., Falci Adaptive Motorsports, and Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports, outfitted a 2014 Corvette with tons of special equipment that allows it to be controlled using only head movements. Sam Schmidt In 2014 Chevrolet Corvette For SAM Project© Provided by MotorTrend Sam Schmidt In 2014 Chevrolet Corvette For SAM Project

Here's how it works: Schmidt will be able to steer thanks to an infrared camera system, comprised of four sensors mounted on a hat he'll wear. The hat is connected to infrared cameras mounted on the dashboard, which detect head tilts in order to steer. To brake or slow down, Schmidt will bite down on a bite sensor, while a computer system will collect signals from the cameras and bite sensor to control acceleration, braking, and steering. To ensure the Corvette stays on the track, a GPS technology system will keep the car within 5 feet from the edge of the track, while Schmidt will have 33 feet of width room to steer. In keeping things safe, a set of software algorithms will ensure commands sent to the computer system are real and defined within the vehicle's limits. 2014 Chevrolet Corvette SAM Project With Team© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Chevrolet Corvette SAM Project With Team

Schmidt will perform demonstration laps before the 2014 Indianapolis 500 race officially kicks off on May 18. Following its appearance at the track, the SAM project will then be shown at events to inspire quadriplegics and disabled persons that anything is possible with the help of technology.

Source: Arrow Electronics

2014 Chevrolet Corvette SAM Project Side View© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Chevrolet Corvette SAM Project Side View

More from Motor Trend


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon