Former Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt continues to write pages of the history of affordable driving technology. Co-owner of the Arrow McLaren SP team drove the famous mountain race at this year’s Goodwood Speed Festival by controlling the car with head movements and breath.
This is the first time that someone has used this type of technology at a British event. Schmidt operated a McLaren 720S Spider that was modified by Arrow Electronics so that the technology could track the movements of his head using infrared cameras.
He controlled acceleration and braking by inhaling and exhaling through a “sip-and-puff” device. Also, the driver wore a semi-autonomous SAM Suit exoskeleton to help him walk. Schmidt became a quadriplegic in 2000 after injuring his spine in an accident that occurred during a trial cycle.
Since then, he has co-opted for paralysis treatments, and in 2014 he teamed up with Arrow to drive a Chevrolet Corvette using a combination of head movement tracking, and “sip-and-puff” devices, and voice controls.
In 2016, he became the first American to be licensed to use an autonomous car on highways, so he drove a Corvette in Nevada.
About Arrow Electronics
Arrow Electronics guides innovation forward for over 220,000 leading technology manufacturers and service providers.
With 2021 sales of $34 billion, Arrow develops technology solutions that improve business and daily life. Alternative mobility solutions may restore some new autonomy to those who cannot drive for some reason, but it is still unclear what role Arrow technology will play in the future.
Arrow is planning a race against self-driving technology, which is getting closer to practical reality. Level 3 autonomy is already on public roads, but we will wait a few more years for fully autonomous vehicles with Level 5 autonomy.
An Arrow spokesperson told Engadget that while SAM "is not precisely open source" the tech may be "available for future development if Arrow approves."