Paralyzed Race Car Driver Will Steer Modified Corvette Using His Head

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2014


Fourteen years after a racing accident left him paralyzed, former Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt will get behind a wheel at the Indy 500. 

However, technology has played a big role in getting him back on the track. The SAM (semi-autonomous motorcar) Project uses technology to allow disabled drivers to drive again.

The 49-year-old will be driving in style. A 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray has been modified to allow him to steer with his head.

Check out how Schmidt will be able to control the car:




Here are some more details on the SAM Project, via

In milliseconds, this system sends signals to a computer that controls the car through an intricate network of sensors and motors that are tied into the car’s standard steering, acceleration and braking systems.

The computer also integrates a GPS system that electronically establishes “virtual curbs”—one meter from the edges of the track. If the car reaches this limit, the system warns the driver to correct course. If the car continues to drift, the system gently auto-corrects the car to keep it on the track.

Schmidt will have someone sitting in the passenger seat who can control the car if necessary, and the car can also be stopped by engineers in the pit if necessary.

Although Schmidt won't be part of the race, he will get to drive four laps at the Indy 500 on May 25.

[CNET, h/t The Verge]