Arrow Electronics Enhances Semi-Autonomous Motorcar with IoT Platform

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Arrow Electronics Enhances Semi-Autonomous Motorcar with IoT Platform

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 9:55am

CAMPAIGN: Arrow's CSR Mission: Innovating Lives

CONTENT: Press Release

SONOMA, Calif. September 9, 2015 /3BL Media/ - Former IndyCar driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series Team owner Sam Schmidt drove a modified sports car on the Sonoma Grand Prix road track in a high-speed demonstration of integrated semi-autonomous technology developed by Arrow Electronics and its partners.

Schmidt has been paralyzed and unable to use his arms and legs since a racing accident in 2000. Driving a 2014 Corvette Stingray equipped with advanced electronics for Arrow’s Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM) project, Schmidt is able to steer, accelerate and brake using only his head.

“Arrow is committed to developing technology to help change people’s lives,” said Michael J. Long, chairman, president and chief executive officer for Arrow. “Our SAM car project continues to demonstrate Arrow’s commitment to working five years out.”

Schmidt conquered the twists, turns and hills of Sonoma’s 2.52-mile road course—including a 180-degree hairpin turn—in a demonstration lap prior to the start of the Grand Prix on August 30. He drove at 55 mph. For the first time, telemetry data from the SAM car operation and Schmidt’s driving performance and physical status were collected and pushed into the cloud for a variety of new Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Arrow launched the SAM project in May 2014 at the 98th Indianapolis 500, where Schmidt drove four qualifying laps in the Corvette reaching a top speed of 97 mph and garnering worldwide attention. In subsequent demonstration laps at the iconic oval speedway, Schmidt reached a top speed of 107 mph.

 “I thought I would never be able to drive again after my accident, but this vehicle makes it possible for me to improve every time I am on the track,” Schmidt said. “Driving fast on a road course just a year after Indy is incredible progress.”

The SAM project is a collaborative venture between Arrow Electronics, Freescale® Semiconductor, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and the nonprofit Conquer Paralysis Now. Arrow leads the development of the SAM car and the systems integration, as well as the engineering of specific systems for the car. Freescale’s technology is featured in an advanced human-to-machine interface, which includes automotive microprocessors and sensors based on its MEM’s technology.

To drive on the Sonoma road course track, the SAM car was updated with new cameras and more responsive driving controls. The modifications allow Schmidt to make sharp left and right turns, navigate hills and synchronize acceleration and braking more precisely.

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 SAM car integrates the following technology:

  • Infrared camera system: sensors mounted on Schmidt’s hat connect to infrared cameras mounted on the dashboard that detect his head-tilt motions in order to steer.
  • Sip/puff system: using breath control, Schmidt can accelerate and brake the vehicle by sucking or blowing into a tube attached to a Freescale-integrated pressure sensor.
  • Computer system: a central processor from Freescale collects signals from the camera and sip/puff system to control the car’s acceleration, braking and steering.
  • GPS technology: a guidance system keeps the car within 1.5 meters from the edge of the track, providing Schmidt with a virtual envelope about 10 meters wide within which he steers.
  • Safety system: a set of software algorithms ensure the commands sent to the computer system are real and defined within the vehicle’s limits.
  • IoT connectivity: an Arrow 4G-LTE IoT gateway running Windows 10 Enterprise collects, streams and stores API-accessible data in Microsoft’s cloud.   

The SAM project supports Conquer Paralysis Now, Schmidt’s foundation dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis.

For more information on the SAM project, please visit Keep up with the SAM car on Twitter by following #SAMracecar. 

Keywords: Health | Arrow Electronics | Grand Prix of Sonoma | IT, Technology & Devices | SAM car | Sam Schmidt | Technology | semi autonomous motorcar

CAMPAIGN: Arrow's CSR Mission: Innovating Lives

CONTENT: Press Release