Quadriplegic Racer Receives US's First Semi-Autonomous Driver’s License

Content via In The News
In The News

Nothing beats the feeling of returning to something you love doing, and that’s what quadriplegic racer, Sam Schmidt, knows too well. In 2000, Sam was involved in a car accident that severely injured his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. 

A racer at heart, Sam worked diligently to get himself back behind the wheel. He has collaborated with Arrow Electronics to develop software and technology that would make driving accessible for all. Sam himself drives a C7-generation Chevrolet Corvette Z06 modified by Arrow Electronics. The adaptations made to his car allow him to control it with head motions, his breath, and verbal commands. For instance, he blows in a tube to accelerate and sucks on it to brake. There are also four infrared cameras placed across the dashboard to track his head movements, and that controls steering the car. 

Supported by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and Arrow Electronics, Sam has received a driver’s license to operate a semi-autonomous car, the first-ever license of such issued in America. Previously, Sam has taken his Z06 for a spin around the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and at the Indianapolis 500. But, with his newly-acquired license, he can take his thrill for driving out of race tracks to public roads now!

How has your own journey returning back to something you love been like? Share your experiences with us and you might be featured here on AbleThrive!

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