CORRECTING and REPLACING Former IndyCar Driver Sam Schmidt Becomes First Individual Ever to Drive on Race Track Semi-Autonomous

  CORRECTING and REPLACING Former IndyCar Driver Sam Schmidt Becomes First
  Individual Ever to Drive on Race Track Semi-Autonomous Motorcar Modified for
  Individuals with Quadriplegia

 Car successfully completes demonstration laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Arrow Electronics

Business Wire

INDIANAPOLIS -- May 18, 2014

First Paragraph, first sentence of release should read Topping out at 97 miles
per hour (instead of Topping out at 73.7 miles per hour).

The corrected release reads:


 Car successfully completes demonstration laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Topping out at 97 miles per hour, former IndyCar driver and current Verizon
IndyCar Series Team owner Sam Schmidt today drove a race car 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, meaning “semi-autonomous
motorcar,” Schmidt becomes the first person with quadriplegia to drive a race
car at speed using integrated advanced electronics.

Schmidt drove four consecutive demonstration laps today prior to Old National
Armed Forces Pole Day qualifying for the 98^th Running of the Indianapolis 500
Mile Race.

The SAM Project is a collaborative venture between Arrow Electronics, Inc.,
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Schmidt Peterson Motor Sports and Falci
Adaptive Motorsports, a nonprofit. Arrow led the development of the SAM car
and the systems integration, as well as the engineering of specific systems
for the car. Ball led the modification of the human-to-machine interface and
driver-guidance system. Colorado neurosurgeon and Falci Adaptive Motorsports
founder Dr. Scott Falci advocated for the modification of a Corvette for FAM’s
adaptive motorsports program for the spinal-cord injured and recruited Schmidt
to the SAM Project. The Air Force Research Laboratory monitored Schmidt’s
biometrics during laps, as well as collecting data in how he interacted with
the guidance systems.

“Racing has been a dream of mine since I was five years old,” said Schmidt. “I
thought I’d never be able to race again after my accident, but this vehicle
made it possible. While I was in the SAM vehicle, I was unencumbered by my
disability. It was the most normal I have felt in nearly 15 years. It was

While autonomous vehicles exist today, a race car for individuals paralyzed
from the shoulders down did not exist until the SAM Project. Moreover, 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 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.

Following Indy 500 festivities, 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 non-profit. 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.


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