Released by Meghan Macdonald, Arrow Electronics
Quadriplegic former IndyCar driver and current team owner Sam Schmidt completed the bottom half of the challenging, high-altitude Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26, 2016, in the Arrow Electronics, Inc. Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM car).
Schmidt, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a crash during an IndyCar practice lap in 2000, is able to steer, accelerate and brake the modified 2016 Corvette Z06 SAM car using only his head. Sensors mounted on an Arrow-designed high-tech headset that Schmidt wears connect to infrared cameras mounted on the dashboard and detect his head-tilt motions to steer. A sip-and-puff device that Smith breathes into enables him to accelerate and brake.
“Tackling the twists and turns of Pikes Peak in the Arrow SAM car was a thrill I’ll never forget,” said Schmidt, who founded the nonprofit organization Conquer Paralysis Now, which is working to find a cure for paralysis and spinal cord injuries. “The SAM project is a great example of what can happen when the right people collaborate to push the boundaries of what’s possible with technology.”
Schmidt tackled the bottom half of the challenging 12.42 mile, 4,725 ft climb, which included dozens of twists and hairpin turns, after the 102 official racers and drivers completed their races. Schmidt was joined by co-pilot Robby Unser — a nine-time Pikes Peak class winner and four-time King of the Mountain — who could take over the SAM car’s controls in the event of an emergency. With Unser by his side, Schmidt reached a top speed of 152 mph last month in the SAM car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in between qualifying laps for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
“The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb captivates auto enthusiasts around the world. It’s the perfect place to showcase the inspiring capabilities of Sam Schmidt and Arrow’s SAM car project,” said Joe Verrengia, Arrow’s global director of corporate social responsibility, who oversees the company’s award-winning SAM project. “We hope the SAM car continues to drive technology innovation forward and inspire people to dream big because, as Sam showed us all yesterday, anything is possible.”
The objective of the SAM project is to enable disabled drivers to experience driving again by leveraging the power of technology. All of the software and technology that Arrow developed for the car is open to the developer and engineering communities, and it has promising broader applications for independent living.
The SAM project is a collaborative venture between Arrow Electronics, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, the nonprofit organization Conquer Paralysis Now and Paravan GmbH, a world leader in innovative automobile conversions for drivers with severe disabilities. For more information on the project, visit arrow.com/SAM, or keep up with SAM project developments on Twitter by following #ArrowDriven.
Arrow Electronics is a proud sponsor of the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. This year marked the 100th anniversary and 94th running of the famed race and had competitors from the US, Japan, Canada, Great Britain, France, Finland, Australia, Taiwan, Corsica, Poland, Brazil, Scotland, Austria, and Switzerland all participating.
To learn more about the Pikes Peak, Colorado race, visit www.ppihc.com.
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 serving over 85 countries.