Paralyzed Driver to Pilot Corvette at Indy 500

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

A former race car driver who was paralyzed in an accident will get to return to the track at the Indy 500 once again.

Former Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt was paralyzed nearly 15 years ago, but thanks to the Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM) project, he will pilot a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at this year’s Indy 500. The Stingray has been customized with integrated advanced electronics along with a human-to-machine interface, allowing Schmidt to steer it by moving his head while the brake can be applied by biting down on a pressure sensor.

“The SAM Project serves to inspire people everywhere to be the drivers of their own lives — to overcome obstacles, achieve ambitious goals, and turn the possible into the practical, often with the transformative power of advanced electronics,” said Arrow Electronics.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Review

The project is a collaboration between Arrow, a supplier of industrial electronics components, Ball Aerospace & Technologies, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the nonprofit Falci Adaptive Motorsports.

The goal will be to give Schmidt as full control as possible in the race car, where he will have to wear a special hat dotted with reflected infrared markers to monitor the tilting of his head. The semi-autonomous race car has been deemed safe to use on the race track and Schmidt will have a passenger that can operate the car’s controls if needed.

GALLERY: Semi-Autonomous Chevrolet Corvette

[Source: Arrow, Gizmodo]

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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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