It takes lots of skill to even enter the Indy Racing League, but to compete without your hands or legs is practically impossible... until now.
Quadriplegic former racer Sam Schmidt will soon be driving a specially outfitted 2014 Corvette Stingray on 25 May, using only head movements to control the car.
Schmidt, who became paralysed after a crash in 2000, will be able to relive his dreams of racing again after 14 years, at least in the four promotional laps he’ll take before the actual Indy 500 race kicks off.
Now, before you start thinking it’s a dangerous stunt to let a quadriplegic back on the tracks by himself, rest assured - there’ll be a co-pilot as well as a pit crew in the event of an emergency.
This feat is part of Arrow Electronics’ Semi-Autonomous Motocar (SAM) project, which aims to give physically disabled motorists the ability to drive again.
How does it work?
What it does, as you might have already guessed, is use infrared sensors to decode head tilts into steering instructions, with the only physical control used being a pressure sensor on the mouth for braking.
It also sports GPS features that will keep Schmidt on course by generating a virtual fence around the track walls (the barrier bumps the car back on course if it deviates).
But this is just a tiny piece of a puzzle for Arrow Electronics. In future it wants to deck out its equipment on regular cars, and even industrial or military automobiles to enable people with restricted use of their body to drive.
Thanks to Arrow Electronics, you may soon never take the drive out of a driver.
[Source and image: Engadget]