First-Ever Semi-Autonomous Motorcar Modified for Individuals with Quadriplegia to Be Officially Demonstrated During 2014 Indy

  First-Ever Semi-Autonomous Motorcar Modified for Individuals with
  Quadriplegia to Be Officially Demonstrated During 2014 Indy 500 Pole Day

Business Wire

INDIANAPOLIS -- May 15, 2014

Driving the first-of-its-kind car controlled only by his head, former IndyCar
driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series Team owner Sam Schmidt will return
to the track during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 Pole Day qualifications for the
first time since he was paralyzed in a practice accident in 2000.

Driving a modified 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray dubbed the SAM Project, standing
for “semi-autonomous motorcar,” Schmidt will become the first person with
quadriplegia to drive a race car at speed using integrated advanced
electronics. It is anticipated that he will take four consecutive
demonstration laps at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 18, prior to Old National
Armed Forces Pole Day qualifying for the 98^th Running of the Indianapolis 500
Mile Race.

The vehicle integrates the following technology:

  *Infrared camera system—four sensors mounted on Schmidt’s hat connected to
    infrared cameras mounted on the dashboard that detect his head tilt
    motions in order to steer and accelerate.

  *Bite sensor—Schmidt holds a device in his mouth and bites down on it to
    slow down or brake.

  *Computer system—a central processor collects signals from the camera
    system and bite sensor to control the car’s acceleration, braking and

  *GPS technology—a guidance system that keeps the car within 1.5 meters from
    the edge of the track. Schmidt has a width of approximately 10 meters to
    steer within.

  *Safety system—a set of software algorithms that ensure commands sent to
    the computer system are real and defined within the vehicle’s limits.

The SAM Project is a collaborative venture between Arrow Electronics,
Inc.(NYSE:ARW), Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Schmidt Peterson Motor
Sports and Falci Adaptive Motorsports, a nonprofit. Arrow is leading the
development of the SAM car and the systems integration, as well as the
engineering of specific systems for the car. Ball is leading the modification
of the human-to-machine interface and driver-guidance system. The Air Force
Research Laboratory is monitoring the driver’s biometrics during laps, as well
as collecting data in how the driver interacts with the guidance systems. Dr.
Scott Falci is serving as the project’s medical director.

“The SAM Project underscores the power of innovation in creating a better
future for all of us, and what better setting to demonstrate automotive
innovation than at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the proving ground for new
technology since the turn of the 20th century,” said Michael J. Long,
chairman, president and chief executive officer, Arrow. “Less than a year ago,
a group of engineers and medical experts came together with the goal of
getting Sam back into the driver’s seat after 14 years living with
quadriplegia. We look forward to celebrating this historic moment with Sam.”

Following its demonstration, the SAM vehicle will be brought to events for
public inspiration and education, disabled community awareness and business
development opportunities. The project also supports Conquer Paralysis Now,
Schmidt’s foundation dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis.


The SAM (semi-autonomous motorcar) Project is an innovative project in which a
2014 Corvette C7 Stingray car has been modified with integrated advanced
electronics and a human-to-machine interface so a qualified quadriplegic
driver can safely operate it under racetrack conditions. The concept of
modifying cars so disabled racers might return to the racetrack is championed
by Colorado neurosurgeon Dr. Scott Falci. The SAM Project is a collaborative
venture between Arrow Electronics, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., the
Air Force Research Laboratory, Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports and Falci
Adaptive Motorsports. More information about the project is available at


About Arrow Electronics

Arrow Electronics ( is a global provider of products, services
and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and
enterprise computing solutions. Arrow serves as a supply channel partner for
more than 100,000 original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers and
commercial customers through a global network of more than 460 locations in 58
countries. Based in Englewood, Colo., Arrow guides today’s innovators to a
better tomorrow – a world of Five Years Out. Five Years Out is a community of
builders and engineers who navigate the path between possibility and
practicality. Arrow is guiding the SAM project forward to improve mobility for
the disabled and demonstrate the power of innovation. For more information
about Arrow and the SAM project, visit

About Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a subsidiary of the Ball Corporation and
based in Broomfield, Colo., prides itself on its agility to innovate and
strength to deliver for defense, intelligence, civil and commercial customers.
The company advances science and protects the nation through the development
and manufacture of space systems, tactical defense products and geospatial
information solutions. Ball is a key contributor of technical innovations for
the SAM project and leads the modification of the human-to-machine interface
and driver guidance system.

About the Air Force Research Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory is a scientific research organization
operated by the United States Air Force Materiel Command dedicated to leading
the discovery, development, and integration of affordable aerospace
warfighting technologies, planning and executing the Air Force science and
technology program, and provide warfighting capabilities to United States air,
space, and cyberspace forces.

About Falci Adaptive Motorsports

Falci Adaptive Motorsports is a registered Colorado nonprofit. Its mission is
to provide opportunity, education and inspiration to the public through
disabled racing initiatives and advancements in spinal cord injury research
encompassing spinal cord regeneration techniques, drug development for spinal
cord injury neuropathic pain, and development of adaptive technologies for
those with spinal cord injury and disabilities in general. One of FAM’s
priorities is to demonstrate the SAM vehicle to advance new mobility systems
and lower the barriers that discourage and isolate the disabled community.

About Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports

Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports is a racing team owned by quadriplegic Sam
Schmidt and partners. SPMS competes in both IndyCar and Indy Lights. The SAM
C7 was modified at its racing garage in Indianapolis. SPMS’s priorities are
for Sam Schmidt to safely drive at speed and to support the disabled community
through his related charity, Conquer Paralysis Now.


Arrow Electronics
Dawn Small, 720-250-6103
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
Mary Engola, 571-236-0950
For Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports
Krystin Wiggs, 317-731-6394
Falci Adaptive Motorsports
Kirsten Kryzstek, 303-789-8984
Air Force Research Laboratory
Christina Wooten, 937-255-3814
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