Arrow's CSR Mission: Innovating Lives
“I feel normal.” That’s the first thing race driver Sam Schmidt said when he completed official qualifying laps at the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Most of us take those three little words for granted, but Schmidt never imagined that he would say them again.
Schmidt, a quadriplegic, was severely injured 14 years ago in a racing accident. Now with Arrow’s help, he can drive using only head movements – reaching speeds as high as 107 mph on the iconic Indy oval.
For the SAM (Semi-Autonomous Motorcar) Project, Arrow modified a 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray car in less than a year with integrated advanced electronics and a human-tomachine interface. Schmidt steers, accelerates and brakes the car through a hat fitted with eight infrared sensors, mouth controls, and four infrared cameras facing him inside the car. The cameras and sensors are integrated into a system that follows Schmidt’s subtle head movements in one-hundredth of a second, and a military-grade GPS system that locates the SAM car on the racetrack within five inches. Arrow modified the car in a partnership that included Ball Aerospace & Technology, the U.S. Air Force and others.