Sam Schmidt continues his race car driving career even though he is a quadriplegic. Schmidt completed the bottom half of the challenging, high-altitude Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb yesterday in the Arrow Electronics, Inc Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM car).
Schmidt, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a crash during an IndyCar practice lap in 2000, is able to steer, accelerate and brake the modified 2016 Corvette Z06 SAM car using only his head. Sensors mounted on an Arrow-designed high-tech headset that Schmidt wears connect to infrared cameras mounted on the dashboard and detect his head-tilt motions to steer. A sip-and-puff device that Smith breathes into enables him to accelerate and brake. Last year Schmidt drove in the Long Beach Grand Prix.
“Tackling the twists and turns of Pikes Peak in the Arrow SAM car was a thrill I’ll never forget,” said Schmidt, who founded the nonprofit organization Conquer Paralysis Now, which is working to find a cure for paralysis and spinal cord injuries. “The SAM project is a great example of what can happen when the right people collaborate to push the boundaries of what’s possible with technology.”