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Paralyzed Driver Will Race Corvette with his Head at Indy 500


This guy is our hero.

Sam Schmidt lost the use of his arms and legs fourteen years ago after crashing during preparation for the Indy Racing League. Yet that didn’t deter him from motorsports. In fact, today he’s the co-owner of Schmidt Petersen Motorsports and this year he will be back behind the wheel at the Indy 500. Arrow Electronics has created a semi-autonomous Chevy Corvette Stingray for Schmidt, who will control the car, as he laps the Speedway, using his head.

The user interface, developed alongside Ball Aerospace and the US Air Force Research Lab, works with overhead cameras and infrared markers that measures how and where the driver’s head moves. To turn, Schmidt will move his head left or right, to accelerate he will tilt his head back and he will bite down to brake. Safety features include a GPS system that will ensure Schmidt is at least three feet away from the walls at all times, and he’ll be joined by a passenger in case the systems fail.

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