Sam Schmidt is a racer who suffered an injury back in 2000 that left him unable to use his arms and legs, and with the firm belief that he would never be able to get behind the wheel of a car again. Fortunately the hard work of Arrow Electronics and Freescale Semiconductor has given Schmidt a second chance to race a car around the track. That car is the “SAM” C7 Corvette Stingray.
The SAM Corvette Stingray gets its name from being a Semi-Autonomous Motorcar, and from its driver of course. Schmidt controls the vehicle by turning his head, which the car monitors via four infrared cameras mounted at the top of the windshield. When Schmidt looks at a spot on the track, the SAM Corvette will obediently turn in that direction.
The speed of the car is controlled by Schmidt’s breathing. Yes you read that right, breathing. To accelerate, Schmidt has to blow air into a special straw, and inhales through the straw in order to slow down. It may sound simple, but we’re sure this is something that is much easier said than done.
“Probably the most challenging thing is the mental focus. You can’t drift around mentally. You’ve got to hope there aren’t a lot of bikinis in the grandstand. That could be tragic,” Schmidt mentioned about controlling the vehicle. There likely were ,but it seems that things went alright regardless, as Schmidt piloted the SAM Corvette this past Sunday around the Long Beach Grand Prix course without incident.