Tag: Sam Schmidt
Arrow gave a team twelve months to create a quadriplegic-compatible racing car – it took them five
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Arrow Electronics gave its semi-autonomous motorcar (SAM) design team a little under a year to enable a quadriplegic to drive a race car. As a practical matter, they did it in less than five months.
The essence of every engineering challenge is the tension between goals and constraints — invent, improve, add (and so on) versus money, time, personnel, tools, etc. It’s not that unusual to have to account for the traits of potential users, but it’s the rare project in which user traits so completely dominate all other variables, including those having to do with hardware, software, and resource.
It was a sunny morning Thursday at Dover International Speedway, and, with a full NASCAR slate scheduled for the weekend, it came as no surprise that the thunderous roar of a stock car rattled the air at the Monster Mile.
The No. 78 flat-black Toyota Camry, owned by Furniture Row Racing, was screaming around the track, but it was not the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Martin Truex Jr., behind the wheel.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The stranger had tears in his eyes as he pushed through a crowd to reach Sam Schmidt in his wheelchair.
Schmidt was watching his team tune up a pair of engines, the roar was relentless and the man had to lean in close and shout in Schmidt’s ear to be heard. Thank you, the man said over and over, never expanding upon his gratitude. He tried to shake Schmidt’s hand, awkwardly just patted it, thanked him again and backed away.
Driving with a disability can be a huge accomplishment, whether it is an amputation or something more severe. In Sam Schmidt’s case, it couldn’t get more severe. In 2001 Sam was paralyzed when his race car went backwards into the wall at 210 mph. Sam’s doctors were thinking he may not live the year but Sam defied the odds and currently lives life as a quadriplegic.
When Sam Schmidt began to prepare his remarks for his Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, he struggled.
The race car driver and owner knows it’s his accomplishments on the track that qualified him for the honor, but that’s not the only legacy he’s hoping to leave. At least not since his crash on Jan. 6, 2000, at Walt Disney World Speedway that rendered him a quadriplegic.
“I really feel longer term, what I hope to be known for is more what’s happened after my injury,” Schmidt said. “The whole idea of overcoming adversity and moving on. I wouldn’t wish this injury on anybody, but I truly feel now, 17 years later, that I have helped thousands more people than I ever could have being a race car driver.”
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — They stared each other down with seemingly serious intentions, two racers sounding like boxers as they engaged in playful trash talk and measured each other.
“Just take it easy on me,” said Sam Schmidt, the quadriplegic in a wheelchair.
“Just take it easy on me,” said Mario Andretti, the 77-year-old Hall of Fame legend with 52 career Indy car wins, including the 1969 Indianapolis 500. “We might not be friends after tomorrow.”
A milestone in autonomous vehicle adoption was recently reached in Nevada, when the state presented the first restricted autonomous vehicle driver’s license to Sam Schmidt. Schmidt is a former Indy racecar driver who was paralyzed in a crash in 2000, rendering him a quadriplegic.
The license pairs with a specially designed semi-autonomous motorcar (SAM) developed by Arrow Electronics. The car is a modified 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray equipped with specialized control systems that allow Schmidt to drive.
Sam Schmidt’s first victory as an Indy Racing League driver was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1999.
Paralyzed from the neck down since 2000, Schmidt is in line for a different type of victory at the speedway Wednesday, when he will become the first person in the nation to receive a restricted driver’s license for a semi-autonomous vehicle, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Using only the motions of his head, his breath and voice commands, Schmidt will demonstrate his new driving abilities with a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that was modified by Arrow Electronics.
In a time where the driverless automated car is becoming a modern reality, we are provided with great potential to make things previously improbable if not impossible suddenly possible.
My interest was piqued when I came across design plans for car that could be controlled by a driver with quadriplegia. At first the idea seemed mere fantasy but as I spoke to transport designer Rajshekhar Dass and learnt move about the control of technical devices through brain waves, facial gestures and infinitesimal movements the idea seemed more of conceivable.
It was two days after the Indianapolis 500 when Sam Schmidt answered his cellphone and was asked if he finally was home, home being Henderson and Lake Las Vegas.
No, he said. He was at a Taco Bell heading for that weekend’s IndyCar doubleheader in Detroit. He said he hadn’t been home in like forever, that of the next 33 nights or whatever, he would sleep in his own bed only four times.
That sounded like a crazy schedule, I said. Maybe I should write a story about his hectic lifestyle.